Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Jeremy Papelbon has been closing games for the Waikiki Cub during games in the Hawaii Winter League. Papelbon is a left-handed finesse pitcher, exactly the opposite of his right-handed, hard-throwing brother Jonathan Papelbon, who won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2007. Will the Cubs Papelbon bring a World Series title to Chicago’s North Side? Probably not any time soon, but he does have a promising future with the Cubs.
Jeremy Papelbon calls himself a “utility” pitcher. As a starter for Class A Daytona, he finished the regular season with 35+ straight scoreless innings. A nagging blister cut short his 2008 season in August, so the Cubs sent Papelbon to Hawaii during the winter to round out the full complement of innings expected from their minor leaguers. Papelbon posted a 2.57 ERA with Daytona, and currently has a 3.48 ERA with Waikiki. He has saved 3 games for the Waikiki Cubs and has struck out 15 batters in only 10 1/3 innings. Papelbon is flexible in what the Cubs want him to do, so it will be interesting to follow Papelbon’s progress over the next few years. At 25, he really needs to show drastic improvement in the very near future if he expects to get called up to the big league any time soon. On the other hand, if he shows promise, he could be used as a blue chip in a trade for a more experienced player that could help the team now. Only time will tell, but if Jeremy can close games like his brother Jonathan, I’d welcome him up to the big leagues in a heart beat.