Jonathan Robert Papelbon was born on November 23, 1980 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is now the closer for the Boston Red Sox. "Paps" new nickname for himself in 2007 is "Cinco Ocho". Papelbon has already made two appearances in the All-Star Game in his first two full seasons in the major leagues. Though it is likely he will become a starting pitcher at some point, he has begun his career as one of the most effective closers in the league. He drives a nice yellow Lamborghini, which can be seen here http://dicekmania.blogspot.com/2007/07/cars-that-sox-drive.html
Has a brother Jeremy Papelbon is an up and coming star in the Chicago Cubs farm system
In 277 minor league innings, Papelbon posted a 3.05 ERA with 299 K's and 78 BB's. He dominated the Florida State League in 2004, his first full pro season with a 2.64 ERA in 130 IP, with 153 K. He only improved when he was promoted to AA in 2005 with a 2.48 ERA in 87 IP with 83 K.
His presence in a pathetic 2005 Red Sox bullpen might have been what saved their season. After Keith Foulke was shelved with injuries and Mike Timlin became the team's make-shift closer, Papelbon was the only one of Terry Francona's middle relievers that he could trust. As such, late in the 2005 season, during Boston's push to make the playoffs, Pap served as the primary "set-up man" or "8th inning guy" out of the Red Sox' bullpen.
Thanks to the general ineffectiveness and health issues of Keith Foulke, JP opened the 2006 season as the Red Sox closer and set a rookie record for most saves in the month of April with 10. In fact, he converted his first 20 straight chances, not blowing a save until June 9th against the Texas Rangers. He didn't surrender his first earned run of the season until May 3rd - his 15th appearance of the season.
His early season dominanace earned him a spot of the 2006 American League All-Star Team. The highest his ERA reached all year was 1.00 on August 20th. Papelbon for shelved for the season after an appearance against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 1st with a "tired arm." He finished the season with a W-L Record of 4-2, 35 saves in 41 opportunities, and an ERA of 0.92. He struck out 75 and walked just 13 in 68.1 innings.
The Red Sox were reported to be moving Papelbon into the starting lineup for the 2007 season but when Papelbon told manager Terry Francona he was more comfortable closing, they moved him back to the closer role. He responded by posting 20 saves prior to the All-Star Break and appeared in his second straight All-Star Game.
When working out of the bullpen, Papelbon can get his fastball up to 97 on a regular basis. When starting it sits around 92-93. In either role the pitch has late life and batter have a hard time catching up to it. He also throws a good splitter that he learned from Curt Schilling and an average slider. He has a curveball that he sparingly uses when starting. He is also known for his mental toughness and confidence. He sets the bar high for himself and enjoys the spotlight and challenges that pitching for Boston presents.
Loves to pitch under pressure and seems to be more effective in those situations. An overpowering pitcher overall with a lot of movement in his fastball, He is not afraid to challenge any hitter with it. When the hitter is able to foul his fastball a few times in the at bat he will pitch a nasty splitter.
- Set a rookie record for the most saves in April with 10 in 2006
- Had a 20.1 consecutive scoreless IP, in 2005 carrying over to 2006
- Selected by Boston Red Sox in the 4th round of the free-agent draft (June 3, 2003 - signed June 12, 2003).