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Dr. StrangeGlove wrote:I would give him some time since top pitching prospects like Pelfrey and Billingsley have also struggled. His game will mature. Remember that Liriano also had some time to refine his pitching in the bullpen.
J35J wrote:Though if he can get that fastball up to 94-95 on a regular basis then that would help quite a bit!! Its not about if a young guy struggles (Pelfrey and Billingsley) because you know those guys have great stuff. And if you have great stuff then you know there is a good possibility of improvement. With the stuff I saw from Lester, I saw more of a regression comming than and improvement.
thedude wrote:J35J wrote:Though if he can get that fastball up to 94-95 on a regular basis then that would help quite a bit!! Its not about if a young guy struggles (Pelfrey and Billingsley) because you know those guys have great stuff. And if you have great stuff then you know there is a good possibility of improvement. With the stuff I saw from Lester, I saw more of a regression comming than and improvement.
Every major leaguer can hit a 94-5 MPH pitch, if it is straight. If the pitch is 90-2 and has movement that is a different story. Location is also a huge factor. Location and movement are the keys to success with the fastball.
Jon Lester has pitched well for a 22-year old in his rookie season, with an above average strikeout rate and a modest number of home runs allowed. His presence in the Boston rotation has helped ease the various injury troubles beset upon it this year, but like every non-Curt Schilling starter Boston has put on the mound in 2006, Lester is walking a tightrope act.
His walk rates--rates that were high to begin with--rocketed to almost five walks per nine innings pitched upon his promotion to Pawtucket. Lester issued free passes to 25 batters in 46 innings, but managed to keep his ERA a shiny 2.70. With the David Pauley-as-major-league-starter experiment in the midst of failing at the same time Matt Clement’s pitching woes were at their worst, the Sox had no choice but to call Lester into action.
His statistics in the majors are in line with his 2006 minor league numbers for the most part. His K/9 fell a whole strikeout, and his HR/9 dropped all the way down to 0.58. His walk rate remains problematic: after posting a 4.82 BB/9 in 46.2 innings at Pawtucket, Lester has struggled with walking batters in the majors at a 4.81/9 innings clip.
At first, Lester was able to get out of the many jams he walked himself into, and his ERA was unscathed. Through his first eight starts, the bases were loaded against Lester on eight separate occasions; batters only managed a line of .000/.083/.000, although there were also three sacrifice flies involved. Lester was shutting down opponents with runners in scoring position as well, only allowing a .171/.312/.200 line. The past few starts have shown us the opposite end of the potential outcomes, with opposing batters crushing the ball at a .321/.371/.536 rate. He has also struggled against left-handed hitters this year--.333/.388/.524 in the majors, although in only 33 at-bats--which is odd, considering he’s also a southpaw.
The walks have troublesome enough that Lester and the Red Sox lost to the Royals this past Tuesday, with Lester handing out three unintentional walks and one hit batsmen. Manager Terry Francona has mentioned on multiple occasions in the past few weeks that Lester is trying too hard to be perfect and manage his walks, and it’s making him infinitely easier to hit; considering the situational numbers have shifted out of favor with Lester at the same time his strikeout rates have fallen over the past few starts--from 7.96/9 in his first seven starts down to 5.35/9 the last five--that’s entirely plausible.
Lester has had flashes of brilliance on the mound this season, with seemingly unhittable breaking pitches mixed in with a low-to-mid 90s fastball with movement. In between these flashes are bouts of poor control and pitches that miss their spots. Watching the change come over Lester the past few starts and listening to Francona speak about his future stud, one wonders if Lester is better off challenging hitters and letting his control work itself out with time, rather than experimenting mid-game with potentially hittable pitches.
If he gets his tendency to walk batters under control--he’s hit five with pitches and had four wild pitches to go along with his 34 unintentional passes-- then he should turn out to be a fine #1 or #2 starting pitcher in the Red Sox rotation. Lester is still only 22, and he’s spent more time on a major league roster than a Triple-A one. Calling him up before he was ready was something the Red Sox most likely would have avoided if possible--and they tried, bringing up the struggling David Pauley first--but with the injuries and a double header scheduled for his first weekend in the majors, Lester was thrown to the wolves. Now the Sox have a starter attempting to learn on the job at the same time he’s being counted on to help in a pennant race, and it has not been appeasing to fans every time out. Lester has shown he can succeed in the majors, but he is not quite the ace many may have thought he was upon arrival; slap the “potential ace” nametag back on Lester where it belongs until his peripherals sort themselves out.
WhosBabeRuth wrote:He has shown flashes of brilliance and within the next few years I expect a solid # 2 starter. All in all, this year he gives the sox a chance to win most of the time he pitches. Regardless, A lefty who has the ability to hit 95 on the gun? I gotta get excited about that...[/i]
thedude wrote:Lester isn't ready for the the majors. You can see his incostistancy from inning to inning. He should be in AAA refining his control, but the red sox injuries have prevented that.
Lester can hit 94-96 (when needed) on his 4 seam fastball. however he ussally throws a 2 seam fastball or a cut fastball which is why the velocity in is in the low 90s most of the time.
Lester is actually a higher regarded prospect than his teammate, Paplebon (who is 3.5 years his serior).
The Red Sox hope that Paplebon and Lester will be the coaces of the 2008 Red Sox.
He has not been great this year, but he is far from a finished product.
BobbyRoberto wrote:Lester is a guy you should have sold high on a few starts ago, if you're still in the hunt for ERA and WHIP. Today, he had another bad outing, except for the win. He gives up way too many baserunners to keep that ERA down. Pitching for Boston, he can still give you wins, but he'll hurt you down the stretch in other areas.
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