Sep 11, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Padres 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Player Review/Preview: Jonathan Papelbon


Sep 2, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) celebrates pitching the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Papelbon

Key 2013 Stats: 2.92 ERA, 29 SV, 57 K, 11 BB

What Happened In 2013

Jonathan Papelbon had a decent overall year in 2013, but it was concerning that he blew seven saves in only 36 opportunities.  It seemed like even when he did convert a save, the outing was a nerve-racking experience for the fans.  His problems seemed to be due to a loss of velocity.  As a result, he only struck out 57 batters,  a significant drop from 92 Ks in 2012.  Fewer strikeouts meant more balls put into play, which resulted in more hits – and runs – by opponents.

What To Expect In 2014

I expect Papelbon to have another okay season, but it is possible that he could struggle with inconsistency again.  At 33, it is questionable whether he will ever be able to regain his lost velocity.  The Phillies are pretty much stuck with him as their closer, so they have little choice but to hope he can perform the job at a high level.   The team has many question marks, and considering how much they’re paying Papelbon, protecting leads in the ninth inning can’t be one of them.

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