One of the lone bright spots for Red Sox pitching this year has been Jonathan Papelbon. Last night in Anaheim, the rookie notched his 33rd save of the season.
With the save, Papelbon moved into third place on the rookie saves list, and closed to within four saves of the record held by Kaz Sasaki.
Here's a look at the all time single-season rookie saves leaders:
Kaz Sasaki (Seattle) - 37 in 2000
Todd Worrell (St. Louis) - 36 in 1986
Jonathan Papelbon (Boston) 33 in 2006
Billy Koch (Toronto) - 31 in 1999
Kerry Ligtenberg (Atlanta) 30 in 1998
And the outstanding rookie closer also continued to rewrite the Red Sox record book. Papelbon is now tied with Jeff Russell and Bob Stanley for fourth place on the Red Sox single-season saves list.
Next up, with 40 saves each, are Ugueth Urbina (2002) and Jeff Reardon (1991), in 3rd place on the list.
The rookie phenom became the first Sox rookie pitcher to be named to the All Star team since Don Schwall in 1961. Schwall also went on to win the Rookie of the Year award that season. Could Papelbon follow suit? It's possible, but Justin Verlanader, Jered Weaver, and Francisco Liriano will also merit consideration. As it stands, the Louisiana native's 20 successful save opportunities to start this season are an MLB rookie record.
As promised, I will continue to update Papelbon's performances and chart his progress as he moves up the list. He has an outside shot at the team record of 46 saves.
Here's a look at the Red Sox all-time single-season saves leaders:
1. Tom Gordon - 46 saves in 1998
2. Derek Lowe - 42 saves in 2000
T- 3.Ugueth Urbina - 40 saves in 2002
Jeff Reardon - 40 saves 1991
T- 4. Jonathan Papelbon - 33 saves in 2006
Jeff Russell - 33 saves in 1993
Bob Stanley - 33 saves 1n 1983
5. Keith Foulke - 32 saves in 2004
T- 6. Heathcliff Slocumb - 31 saves in 1996
Bill Campbell - 31 saves in 1977
T- 7. Lee Smith - 29 saves in 1988
Dick Radatz - 29 saves in 1964
T- 8. Jeff Reardon - 27 saves in 1992
Ellis Kinder - 27 saves in 1953
T- 9. Lee Smith - 25 saves in 1989
Dick Radatz - 25 saves in 1963