Jonathan Papelbon- 5 yrs, 14-11 record, 243 gm, 271 ip, 312 k, 137 sv, 1.83 ERA, 0.98 WHIP.
Like Vanilla Ice- Quick to the point, to the point no faking. Burning MC's like a pound of bacon...is Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon one of the best pitchers ever?
According to my handy-dandy Baseball-Reference subscription he is. He has the 2nd best ERA since 1901 of any pitcher with 270+ innings pitched (1st place 1.82 ERA). Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriguez are the only other modern day pitchers that crack the top 50. Also, Papelbon's WHIP is the 3rd best in that same time frame.
Papelbon is only 28 years old, and he's already an elite closer. He's converted 89% of his save opportunities. People always talk about the awesomeness of Mariano Rivera, and then point to his postseason dominance (0.77 ERA/0.75 WHIP in 117 ip), but Papelbon is well on his way to doing such great things as well (0.00 ERA/0.64 WHIP in 25). Yes, Jonathan Papelbon has not allowed a friggin' run in the playoffs yet...amazing!
It will be interesting to see the size of contract Papelbon gets when he hits free agency. He just received a hefty raise this offseason of nearly $5.5M (making $6.25), avoiding arbitration for the 1st time. The BoSox are going to have to pony up the big bucks if they want to retain his services. If healthy, a 5 year $65M deal seems well within reason for this backend of the staff ace.
Papelbon Riverdancing with some Dropkick Murphy playing in the background.