6-8-2010: Bonser recalled, Papelbon on leave, Sox and the draft

Closer Jonathan Papelbon was placed on the three-game bereavement list due to a family emergency, and RHP Boof Bonser was called up to take his slot in the bullpen. Bonser is looking sharp and has allowed just one run over his last 14 innings of work. For those looking for a sneak preview, Daniel Bard is expected to handle any save opportunities that come along in Cleveland in this series.

Speaking of Papelbon, his fastball has become increasingly ineffective over the past three years, according to at least one sabermetric measure. The velocity and movement appear to be consistent, but it is getting batted around quite a bit more. Is Papelbon’s true talent declining, or is this just a figment of small sample size for relievers? My guess is that the heater hasn’t declined to below a replacement level fastball quite yet, but it doesn’t surprise hitters like it used to. Clearly, his strikeout ratios are WAY below even last year’s, so it is not fooling people on either side of the plate. This will make it a tough call this offseason.

BP notes that the Red Sox have been excellent in the draft during the 2000s, despite not picking early in the first round:

Of course, teams like the Yankees can do far better through their strong record of acquiring international amateur talent outside of the draft, as well as spending on free agents, but the production of picks by teams like the Red Sox, Phillies, and Twins demonstrates the importance of the draft…

There was no team that even came close to the production of the Red Sox with their second through fifth-round picks in the 2000s.  The Red Sox generated 56.4 WARP3 out of these picks, well above the Cardinals’ 36.6 and Nationals’ 30.8.  The Red Sox found a slew of talent in these rounds.

That’s why we are where we are today. Which, unfortunately, is still 3rd place. But we’re working on that.


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