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Showdown: Rivera vs. Papelbon

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Often times in the middle of your draft, you’ll find yourself deciding between a couple players at the same position. With Player Showdowns, we take two players who are closely ranked by Average Draft Position (ADP) and/or Rotoworld’s 2012 season projections and have writers take a side and debate who should be selected first. Whose side will you be on?


We’ll offer up one Showdown per position (catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, outfield, starter and reliever) here, and you can get dozens more by purchasing the 2012 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.


Additional Starter Showdowns you can find in the 2012 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide include Jordan Walden vs. Sergio Santos, Brian Wilson vs. Joel Hanrahan and Matt Thornton vs. Addison Reed.



Mariano Rivera vs. Jonathan Papelbon


We keep waiting for this 42-year-old wonder to slow down, but it just hasn’t happened. Mo produced a fourth straight sub-2.00 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP season in 2011, and he notched 40+ saves for the eighth time in his illustrious career. He also rebounded from a strikeout standpoint, whiffing a batter per inning after his K/9 rate dropped off the previous season. Meanwhile, Papelbon bounced back from a disappointing 2010 campaign with one of his best seasons last year, leading to a huge deal with the Phillies. Paps should have no trouble in Philly continuing to garner plenty of save chances, but the only category he should best Rivera in is strikeouts. Mo should have a huge advantage over him in ERA and also likely in WHIP, as Papelbon’s ever-changing walk rate should rise noticeably and his hit rate has been higher than Mo’s each of the last four years. Both relievers would be fine additions to your fantasy roster, but it’s unwise to bet against the best closer of all-time in what is likely to be his final season. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)



This all comes down to strikeouts. Even at age 42 and likely entering his last season in the bigs, Rivera is likely to be the more effective pitcher than Papelbon. Papelbon, though, has averaged an extra 21 strikeouts per year these last three seasons. I have him finishing with 24 more strikeouts than Rivera this year, wiping away Mariano's advantages in ERA and WHIP. As for saves alone, I don't see either having much of an advantage. Both pitch for great teams, but the Phillies will probably play more close games than the Yankees will. On the other hand, Papelbon will lose a few saves to complete games from Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. I'd peg both for right around 40 saves. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)




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