Boston Stats (2005-11): 23-19 W/L, 396 G (3 GS), 429.1 IP, 322 H, 115 BB, 509 K, 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 219 SV.
Flamboyant, narcissistic, colorful and a variety of other endearments that should not be mentioned, but just an elite closer while in Boston. A four-time AL All-Star, second in Rookie of the Year in 2006 and a remarkable post-season record. A bulldog personality on the mound for this highly charged and competitive right-hander.
In the post-season, Papelbon was untouchable until that two-out meltdown against the Angels in 2009. Yet his 1.00 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in “When it really counts” is exceptional. Closed out the 2007 Rockies with a strikeout, and, of course, nailing Matt Holiday with a pick-off to end the eighth.
In Boston, his seven seasons produced a 0.6 HR/9, BB/9 of 2.4 and a 10.7 K/9. All time Red Sox saves leader. Noted for his molasses style of slow play on the mound. The lowest point in Boston for me was blowing a lead to Baltimore in the last game of 2011 that cost a pennant.
Papelbon’s style was and is to throw hard and use a cutter and slider judiciously. In his Boston salad days, Papelbon would consistently approach the mid-90s with his fastball and that has now deteriorated about three MPH.
Papelbon left Boston for Philadelphia as a free agent signing a five-year deal in the vicinity of $60 Million. His stay in Philadelphia has been an artistic success with 123 more saves and a continuation of a low WHIP (1.02) and ERA (2.31), but a trade during the season to the Washington Nationals led to a suspension for dusting Manny Machado and a dugout choke fest with Bryce Harper.
Papelbon continues to produce only in the NL. With the Harper incident, there was some discussion of the possibility of a return to Boston, but that was answered with the acquisition of Kimbrel and Smith.