Jonathan Papelbon of the Philadelphia Phillies has been selected as the winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for April, it was announced today. This Major League Baseball award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball.
In his first month with the Phillies, Papelbon went 0-0 with a 0.90 ERA while converting each of his eight save opportunities. In 10 appearances, the 31-year-old right-hander tossed 10.0 innings, permitting one run on six hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts. The four-time All-Star notched his first save in a Phillies uniform with a perfect 10-pitch ninth inning in a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 5th. The Jacksonville, Florida native collected back-to-back saves on April 19th and 20th against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park, yielding just one walk with two strikeouts in the two contests combined. Papelbon, who was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, did not allow a hit over his final five appearances of the month (5.0 innings pitched), and has not allowed a run in his last six games (6.0 innings) entering play today. In addition, the Mississippi State University product did not allow a run in his final eight appearances of April, and has not allowed a run over his last 9.0 innings pitched entering play today. Papelbon, who became the first Major League pitcher ever to record at least 30 saves in each of his first six full Major League seasons last year, has held opponents to a .162 (6-for-37) batting average this season, including .107 (3-for-28) in save opportunities. Papelbon currently leads the Majors with nine saves and ranks third in the N.L. with a 0.82 ERA among relievers with at least 10.0 innings pitched.
Other relievers receiving votes included Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 SV, 8.2 IP, 6 SO); New York Yankees reliever David Robertson (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 11.0 IP, 18 SO); Fernando Rodney (1-0, 0.87 ERA, 7 SV, 10.1 IP, 9 SO) of the Tampa Bay Rays; and 2011 N.L. Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel (0-0, 2.00 ERA, 8 SV, 9.0 IP, 16 SO) of the Atlanta Braves.