Fantasy Baseball: Jonathan Broxton vs. Jonathan Papelbon

by Eric McClung and Bryce McRae on March 25, 2010 @ 02:24:36 PDT


Jonathan Broxton, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Eric McClung

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.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers RP Jonathan Broxton
    Brox the vote for this K machine
    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.
  • 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 stays put.
Closing argument: 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.

Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Boston Red Sox

Bryce McRae

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.
  • Boston Red Sox RP Jonathan Papelbon
    Getting jiggy with his splitter
    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. Touche.
  • 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.
Closing argument: 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

Analyst Jonathan Broxton Jonathan Papelbon
Nicholas Minnix X  
Tim Heaney X  
Bryce McRae   X
Cory J. Bonini X  
Keith Hernandez X  
Eric McClung X  
Matt Trueblood X  

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About Eric McClung

Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's 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. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.

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