Broxton's fantasy baseball player profile
- Broxton's K/9 and BAA have both improved over each of the last two seasons.
Broxton's 13.50 K/9 and .170 BAA were each tops among relief pitchers in 2009.
Broxton is filthy at home - only two earned runs and 14 hits in 45 innings,
good for a microscopic 0.40 ERA and .095 BAA. He has excelled there his entire
career. Broxton did have issues on the road (5.81 ERA), but if he is able
to correct that issue, look out. Broxton's seven wins were a fluke, right?
Maybe not. Manager Joe Torre has shown a willingness
to use his closer in non-save situations.
Jonathan Papelbon is coming off a 3.18 BB/9,
his highest total as a full-time closer. After walking no more than three
batters in any given month of the 2008 season, Papelbon gave out three to
six free passes a month from April through August. The reason? Papelbon went
away from split-fingered fastball and more towards sliders, which he had trouble
controlling, and four-seam fastballs, which made him more predictable.
Brox the vote for this K machine
- Broxton is not exactly a control artist himself (3.48 BB/9 over the last
two years), but Pap's unpredictability is a bigger concern. Papelbon's contact
percentage has been 77.2 percent in each of the last two years; Broxton has
posted percentages of 71.2 and 69.1. Contact percentage on strikes: Pap, 82.3
percent and 83.1 percent; Brox, 79.0 percent and 80.7 percent.
- Pap's opponents' line-drive percentage has increased over the last three
years. His flyball rate has been over 52 percent in two of the last three
years and 45 percent in three of the last four. Meanwhile, Broxton's groundball
rate has sat above 44 percent in each of the last three seasons.
- Papelbon has yet to sign a multi-year deal with the Red Sox. Would they
deal Pap at some point this season to avoid the big payday and elect to see
what young flamethrower Daniel Bard can do
in the ninth? Sure, Papelbon would still likely close games no matter what
team he ends the season with, but there are some legitimate security questions
here. If Bard matures more this year, he could poach some saves even if Papelbon
: Do you like your Jonathan doing the Riverdance or sporting killer sideburns? With Broxton you know strikeouts and groundballs will be consistent, and the guy is simply unhittable at Dodger Stadium. Papelbon was up and down last season. He walked a career high number of batters and is becoming more hittable.
Papelbon's fantasy baseball player profile
- Broxton: 55 career saves and 25 blown saves in a year and a half. Papelbon:
151 saves and 17 blown saves in four years. It's really all that separates
the two. Both have elite ratios. Opportunities don't favor either. You can't
count on relief wins. That miniscule BS rate is the difference. Well, as far
as past history goes.
People are saying last year was a poor one for Pap? He blew just three saves
in the regular season. Broxton blew six (eight the previous year). And Pap's
playoff blowup ... it's not like J-Brox was infallible in the postseason.
Getting jiggy with his splitter
- His main issue last year was the disappearance of his splitter, which hurt
his already questionable GB/FB. He had to rely almost solely on fastballs
at times. Yes, I concede it's only spring training, but he has been able to
throw his splitter for strikes. This is huge if he wants to lower that 3.18
BB/9 - a career worst - and his flyball rate.
- Pap still strikes out over 10 batters per nine. His 89.3 percent strand
rate has a history to back it up. His ERA was 1.85 and 1.86 in the first and
second half, respectively, last year. Pitching through migraines? He still
has his confident, bulldog, give-me-the-ball mentality, too. Prepare to see
more Irish jigging!
- Daniel Bard is the future. I'll concede
that. Are the Red Sox really going to go with a
24-year-old (25 in June) reliever that has only 49 1/3 IP in the bigs? Last
time I checked they're still in win-now mode, and Pap is still elite. The
future is 2011 or 2012.
: Picking between the Jonathans isn't easy. They'll both probably go too early. You shouldn't reach for anyone at this volatile position. But if you must
make a choice, let the skill, opportunity and
experience of Pap set your mind at ease.
KFFL staff verdict
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a two-time award finalist. He's also made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts.
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