9-29-2011: Papelbon’s conditioning and his bounceback year

One positive thing I noticed last night with Jonathan Papelbon; the guy’s lost a LOT of weight compared to last season. I think Paps was really serious about reestablishing himself as a top closer this season (and top free agent), and with the exception of last night, he did quite well. Other pitchers may have struck out more batters, but Paps’ 87 Ks versus 10 strikeouts was good for an 8.70 K/BB ratio, best among full-time closers and third to only Koji Uehara and Rafael Betancourt this season. Not only did he drop his ERA a full run from last year, he posted the best FIP (1.53) and xFIP (2.16) of his career. Papelbon’s fastball really regained its effectiveness, and his splitter became that much better as a result.


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