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Papelbon for the Cy Young? Er, no. Not a chance.

Sep 15, 2009, 8:50 AM EDT

The lack of any real playoff drama this year has led to a dramatic increase in the number of newspapers pimping their local boys for postseason hardware. The latest: Jonathan Papelbon:

His core numbers are excellent: a 1.89 ERA and 36 saves. But anyone who has watched him – or looked up how many hits and walks he was allowing – could tell that for much of the year, this wasn’t the same pitcher who shortened games for Boston from 2006 to 2008. Papelbon allowed nearly 1.5 baserunners per inning before the All-Star break, and many of his successful saves were roller-coaster rides of walks, hits, and then finally strikeouts.

That has changed over the past month. Papelbon is now pitching efficiently and effectively, backing up his excellent core numbers with shutdown, worry-free performances, like Sunday’s three-strikeout scoreless inning. Since the end of July, he has improved to the point where talking about whether he should be in the Cy Young mix isn’t that crazy after all.

Actually, it is crazy.  Even if you were to set aside the argument that relief pitchers should almost never, ever win the Cy Young award because they simply don’t throw enough innings to provide the same value a good starting pitcher brings, something else stands in between Papelbon’s candidacy and sanity: Mariano Rivera. The same Mariano Rivera who has a lower ERA, more saves, has allowed far, far fewer baserunners, has better rate stats across the board, and has induced far fewer hear attacks among his fanbase than has Papelbon this season.

If, as I argued last week, Mariano Rivera is not worthy of the Cy Young Award, there is no logical argument whatsoever for Jonathan Papelbon.  And I assume the writer of the linked piece knows it too, as he doesn’t even mention Rivera’s name in the article. If he had, the whole thing comes crashing down.

(link via BTF)

  1. Bobby - Sep 15, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    Man, I can’t agree more. Paps is good, but he’s been having an off year. Mo should finally get his Cy Young

  2. James - Sep 15, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Clemens wasn’t juiced when he pitched for the Astros? I like your sense of humor. Very funny.

  3. planktonDisciple - Sep 15, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    When he posted earlier about Mo, I did write that I thought Mo should be given consideration. Sparkly Lyle won in the 70’s.
    Greinke’s numbers are Cy worthy and his “slips” are irrelevant. When you lead the league in era and whip you are the best starter period.
    Mo has had an unbelievable career, but Yankee fans think it is a foregone conclusion they will win the WS this year. They won the division from 2001- 2007 and look no rings. Arod is a .270 punch and judy hitter in the playoffs until proven otherwise. Sabathia has sukked every year in the postseason. Texeira has on postseason series under his belt, and while he did manage to hit six or seven meaningless singles, he only had no power or rbis.
    We’ll see what happens this year. Mo and Jeter aren’t going to be enough.

  4. TK - Sep 15, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    Did any of you even bother to read what the original statement was?
    “Since the end of July, he has improved to the point where talking about whether he should be in the Cy Young mix isn’t that crazy after all.”
    Does this say he should WIN the Cy Young? No, it doesn’t. It only says he should be “in the mix”. Those stats say to any rational thinker that he should garner some votes. That would put him “in the mix”.

  5. planktonDisciple - Sep 15, 2009 at 9:05 PM

    probably was juiced. we aren’t talking about a retroactive award. at the time he deserved the award by what was known.
    we are talking about what makes a pitcher the “best pitcher”.
    the point is w-l is highly over-rated. the best era and the best whip are better indicators than w-l. 99% of batter would rather face Sabathia than Greinke if they had the same run support.

  6. Joe - Sep 17, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Kathy…thats very intelligent and well thought out statement…..your argument for paplebon is so convincing that I believe you must have been a member of your HS debate team………glad to see someones tax dollars weren’t wasted in getting you an education.

  7. drcm - Oct 6, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    papelbon is a great guy with great talent. i dont know much about baseball but i do no he took my son who is 9 down on the field with him and into the clubhouse to meet the rest of the red sox and he was great to him and all the players were to.papelbon signed a ball for him on the field and in the clubouse they got another ball and all of them signed it. great bunch of guys! my son LOVES, lives and breathes baseball and he is still on cloud 9!

  8. GBS - Oct 12, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    “Pap has yet to have that crushing defeat to humble him.”
    He does now.

  9. lorna bond - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    So Kathy, how do you feel about Papelbon today?? Ms. Red Sox Nation. Meanwhile my Angels continue on to the ALCS !!

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