Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Starting Rotation Preview: Jon Lester

Jon Lester got his first call up to the majors in 2006. At the time, he was the number 2, behind 3B Andy Marte (Good call on that one, scouts). He didn't start to fulfill his promise until 2008 though. When that time came, though, one of the best left handed pitchers in the game was born. 

As I have mentioned multiple times on this blog, the age players statistically blossom is 27. Lester is going to be 27 this year. That means that he could potentially be better than his previous three years, in which he's been pretty damn good. Here are his stats from the last three years.

2008- 3.21 ERA, 16-6, 2 SHO (League Lead), 152 K, 1.27 WHIP, 5.6 WAR
2009- 3.41 ERA, 15-8, 225 K, 1.23 WHIP, 5.6 WAR
2010- 3.25 ERA, 19-9, 225 K, 1.20 WHIP, 5.0 WAR, All Star, 4th place Cy Young voting.

These numbers are beyond impressive. Fenway park is one of the most hitter friendly parks in all of baseball. Despite that fact that Lester pitches about half of his games in this park, he still put up these stellar numbers. To go along with that, he has been pitching in the AL East, with the Yankees and the Rays, two of the top at least five teams in all of baseball. He had to endure some serious star power in each lineup. 

As for this season, everything is looking better. First of all, there is the 27 year old thing. I think I have discussed that enough, and don't feel like beating a dead horse. Second of all, the lineup is great. I think it is the best in the game. That should mean tremendous run support. Lester should see huge numbers in the win department. And finally, the defense is looking very good. There are very good defensive players at basically every position. The range being covered in left and center field between Ellsbury and Crawford is something I am looking forward to the most. The only question I have is how long will it take for Youk to assimilate himself into 3rd base. I don't think it will be too long, and all of this should translate into a big year for Lester, finally the ace of the staff. Here are my predictions for Lester.

3.31 ERA, 21-5, 234 K, 1.22 WHIP, 5.4 WAR, All Star, Top-3 Cy Young voting.

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