In a year where the Philadelphia Phillies have been nothing short of exhausting to follow and watch, Jonathan Papelbon has been one of the bright spots for a Phillies bullpen that wasn’t give much hope when the players reported to Spring Training.
Papelbon earned his 30th save of the year last week with a scoreless ninth inning against the Mariners on Wednesday and helped combine on a no-hitter against Atlanta. He’s now reached the 30-save mark eight times in his last nine seasons. Papelbon has never been the most popular player, but he’s put together some very impressive numbers over his career with 315 saves to go with a 2.34 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.
One of the reasons behind the unacknowledged accolades could be his domineer and attitude. He has never been known as the best guy in the locker room and was always available to say whatever was on his mind, no matter what the consequences would be. Papelbon has a pretty impressive track record and came to the Phillies under a lot of scrutiny because of a big time contract with whispers of a dead arm closer. Unfortunately for him, he came to the Phillies in the first stages of a team decline, not a phase he was expecting.
There have been moments of praise, along with times of disgust over these last three seasons as we have watched the continual ups and downs of a bad baseball team. Whether or not you want to give Papelbon the credit he deserves, the fact that there’s even an argument to be made for him will hopefully get you to appreciate a little more what the guy has done and is doing for the Fightins. Papelbon’s numbers in his three seasons in the Red and White are really quite excellent.
In 187 appearances from 2012-2014, here are his overall stats:
188 IP, 12-9, 2.35 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 203 K, 42 BB (4.83 K/BB), 100 Saves
He’s certainly not the cuddliest closer we’ve ever had and he probably won’t end up being worth $26 million over the next two seasons. However, he only trails Jose Mesa by 14 saves to become the Phillies All-Time Leader and what he’s done thus far when taking the mound for us in the ninth inning has been pretty undeniable, and deserves to be acknowledged.
Tony Cutillo (@TCutillo23)