Top 10 Contract-Year Players

Jonathan Papelbon
Text: Eric Mack,
Photo: Winslow Townson/SI


Jonathan Papelbon

30, Boston Red Sox

Career highs by category:
5 W, 0.92 ERA, 84 K, 0.77 WHIP, 41 SV
Projected numbers:
3 W, 2.18 ERA, 78 K, 1.10 WHIP, 40 SV

Papelbon's WHIP and walks have risen and his saves have declined each of the past three seasons. All three of those trends stop here. Not only is Papelbon precisely the player fit for a big contract year, but the Red Sox have also significantly bolstered their bullpen in front of him. A good closer is a great fantasy closer when he gets help from his setup men. Daniel Bard is one of the best late-inning arms in baseball; Bobby Jenks is closer-quality in the seventh or eighth; and Dan Wheeler and Hideki Okajima are solid matchup guys from the right and left sides. There is a lot to like about the Red Sox and Papelbon en route to 40 saves.

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