13 May 2005

Jon Papelbon Update- 5.13.05

Jon Papelbon has 'kept on truckin' since the last update. Here is his season line so far:

3-1, 2.02 ERA, 35.2 IP, 24 H, 8 ER, 6 HR, 8 BB, 35 K

So Papelbon has given up 8 ER in six starts, 6 of which have come on a HR. But, thanks to his sparkling 0.91 WHIP and his 8.93 K/9, his ERA is (really) low, and he recently got his third win of the season. The Sox are wisely keeping him on a strict pitch/ inning count, limiting him usually to what it takes to get through ~6 IP, and this often comes at the cost of a few decisions for Jon. Of course, this does nothing to obscure his record thus far, which is fast approaching "promotion-worthy."

His walks have ticked up a bit- he had his first 2 of the year between my last two updates, and has had six since then- but this was due to his May 4th start in which he walked a season-high 5, more than doubling his total for the entire season. It's worth noting that this start was one of his few without surrendering a HR, which may be attributable to his poor control in that start. Papelbon's propensity to pound the strike zone could be part of the reason batters run into a fastball once a game- not unlike Curt Schilling in that regard. Like Schilling, Papelbon has kept the HRs solo thus far, and has therefore remained successful.

Box from 4th May | (ND)
7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Box from 10th May | (W)
6 IP, H, ER, BB, 5 K, HR

Article from the New Hampshire Union Leader, May 13th:
SENSATIONAL SEA DOGS: Five of Boston's top minor league prospects were in the starting lineup when the Portland Sea Dogs faced the Fisher Cats on Wednesday, resulting in a terrifically played 6-5 victory for Portland. After watching infielders Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and Jeremy West, it's easy to imagine them playing at Fenway Park — this season or next.

The fast-rising Pedroia, batting .342, might be playing second base next season if the Red Sox don't re-sign Bellhorn. Ramirez (batting .304) has the ability to play infield or outfield, and West (.336) may have impressed the brass enough to play some first base. Other Sea Dogs to watch include outfield prospects Brandon Moss, David Murphy and pitchers Jon Papelbon and Jon Lester.

Nice info on Papelbon from BA's "Daily Dish", May 12th:
PORTLAND, Maine—Several of the Red Sox' top-rated prospects are pitching in Portland, helping the Sea Dogs to a 19-10 record, best in the Double-A Eastern League.

The rotation features three members of the Sox' Top 30: Jon Papelbon (3), Jon Lester (4), and David Pauley (26). All but Lester are righthanders, with lefty Kason Gabbard also in the rotation, which just lost knuckleballer Charlie Zink, who was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. And righthander Manny Delcarmen, who ranked 11th, is leading the team in wins with four out of the bullpen.

Sea Dogs' catcher Alberto Concepcion, who caught most of them last year at Sarasota, gave us a rundown on one of the best pitching staffs in Double-A.

On Papelbon: "He's a bulldog. Not that all of the guys don't want the ball, but he's almost on a different level. He obviously throws hard. His command is better than it was last year. He's developed a cutter, or maybe you could call it a slider. He's added a splitter, although it's almost like a split/change. It's not really a true splitter that has a tumbling effect. The action on his is almost like a change with down action. He's leaving it low and getting some bad swings with it."

On Papelbon's similarities to Mark Prior, who Concepcion caught at Southern Cal: "I see a lot of similarities, especially mentally. They're both competitive athletes. Every day they want to compete, and they attack hitters. One thing they definitely have in common is respect. You go out to the mound to talk to them, and they'll value your input. They know what they want to do, but they also respect that they're part of a team."

Very intriguing stuff.

A blurb on Papelbon's start 5/10 against New Hampshire in BA's "Daily Dish", from May 11th:
Double-A Portland righthander Jon Papelbon got the better of New Hampshire righty Josh Banks, as the Sea Dogs defeated the Fisher Cats, 6-1. Papelbon was solid, allowing just a run on one hit and striking out five over six innings. Banks on the other hand, got hit hard. The second-round pick in 2003 out of Florida International allowed six earned runs on seven hits, struck out five in 5 1/3 innings and lost his first decision of the season. “He wasn't able to avoid the big inning and we were able to get the big inning," Papelbon told the New Hampshire Union Leader. "Give the hitters a lot of credit. They took advantage of that when the time was right. That's a big deal with a pitcher, avoiding that big inning.”

Finally, yet another BA "Daily Dish blurb on the pitcher's duel that was the 5/4 matchup between Papelbon and Francisco Liriano of New Britain, from May 5th:
The best pitching matchup last night occurred in the Eastern League, as Portland righthander Jon Papelbon and New Britain lefthander Francisco Liriano combined for 14 shutout innings before handing it over to their bullpens. Papelbon went seven innings, allowed three hits, walked five and struck out six. Liriano also went seven, gave up six hits, walked three and struck out nine in a 5-0 Portland win.

Looks like Jon's next start should be May 16th at Erie.

  • Papelbon Update, 5.3.05

  • Papelbon Update, 4.19.05

  • Papelbon Update, 4.12.05

  • Papelbon Update, 3.29.05

  • Ok, this definitely is getting scary. Not funny. Hopefully he gets right soon, but if history teaches us anything, artistic types, celebrity and mental health facilities rarely turn out well for the prospect of new, exciting work.

    Which sucks, because this means mental illness just fazed out one of the two or three funniest guys on the planet. Keep those fingers crossed...

    Just out of curiosity, I was thinking of comparing Matt Clement and Carl Pavano's season this year, just to see which investment has paid off best. Here's the lines so far:

    MATT CLEMENT | RHP | 2005
    4-0, 3.06 ERA, 50 IP, 52 H, 18 BB, 38 K, HR, 6.84 K/9, 1.40 WHIP, .267 BAA

    CARL PAVANO | RHP | 2005
    2-2, 4.80 ERA, 45 IP, 60 H, 10 BB, 27 K, 10 HR, 5.40 K/9, 1.56 WHIP, .316 BAA

    A couple things- Clement has been pretty lucky so far, and Pavano has been fairly lucky too it seems to me, despite his tough start. Clement has also been much better thus far, and the big stat is the HR allowed- 10 to 1 in Clement's favor. That alone almost tells the tale of the comparison- Clement does have more walks, but is striking out more proficiently. He's allowing fewer baserunners, but even if he weren't, the HR allowed would still keep him the stronger pitcher. Simply put, when you have a 1.54 WHIP and 10 HR in 45 IP, you're lucky to have a 4.80 ERA- 10 over 45 IP prorates to around 40 allowed over 200 IP.

    Most of Clement's "heavier" rate stats come from this awful start against Baltimore, in which he surrendered 12 H, 7 ER, and struck out only one. Removing that start (just for the sake of doing it), Clement's performance looks like this:

    4-0, 1.98 ERA, 45.1 IP, 40 H, 17 BB, 37 K, HR, 7.35 K/9, 1.26 WHIP

    Pavano, meanwhile, has had two rough starts out of the last three, and the one quality start was against the worst offense in the AL (Oakland) thus far, and he still gave up 3 ER on 2 HR. Apparently, he's mentioned trouble with his mechanics he's battled through. Far be it from me to agree with Steinbrenner on anything, but Mel Stottlemyre's track record is pretty awful up and down. Between Jeff Weaver, Javier Vazquez, and some incidental evidence with Carl Pavano now, a lot of very solid pitchers come into New York and end up with their mechanics and results all crooked. Ask Doc Gooden what he thinks of Mel's suggestion he try a changeup after the 1984 season.

    Of course, it's early, but I'm still feeling more comfortable with Clement at $6.5 million than I am Pavano at $10. Of course, it goes without saying that Clement at $6.5 makes Jaret Wright at $5.7 downright hilarious. And guess what? Jaret just gets more expensive!

    I'd love to hear a Yankee fan tell me which signing pisses them off more- Wright or Womack, but so far, I'd guess that's an easy call.

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