It was just a couple seasons ago that Philadelphia Phillies RP Jonathan Papelbon was one of the best closers in all of fantasy baseball. He has racked up 35 or more saves in six of his last seven professional seasons between 2006-12.
Unfortunately, Papelbon started to see a major decline in his numbers last season. The veteran racked up a meager 29 saves, which was his lowest total since he became a full-time closer back in 2006. He also blew seven saves and threw 61.2 innings, which was his lowest total in the past six seasons. These are hardly the numbers you would expect from a five-time All-Star closer.
At 33 years old, Papelbon is far from his prime. The veteran’s age is clearly evident by the fact that Papelbon’s fastball has dropped from a sizzling 95 MPH in 2011 to a much more mediocre 92 MPH last season. His heater has completely flattened out and it has become much easier for hitters to track through the strike zone.
Even worse, Papelbon has absolutely no run support in Philly. The Phillies are one of the worst teams in all of baseball and the team is rarely in position to win a game. This means that Papelbon clearly has a ceiling to the number of saves he can rack up in 2014.
Papelbon can be a decent low-end closer to grab at the end of the draft, but he will likely be drafted way too high. There are better options out there, so let someone else jump on Papelbon in the early rounds of the draft this spring.