Biographical

Portrait of Jon Lester

Jon Lester PRed Sox

Red Sox Player Cards | Red Sox Team Audit | Red Sox Depth Chart

2014 Rest-of-Season Projections (seasonal age 30)
IP ERA WHIP SO W L SV WARP
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Birth Date1-7-1984
Height6' 4"
Weight240 lbs
Age30 years, 6 months, 15 days
BatsL
ThrowsL
3.82010
2.22011
1.22012
2.72013
4.62014
+proj
WARP Summary

Standard

YEAR TEAM AGE G GS IP IP-SP IP-RP W L SV BS QS BQS PA H R ER HR TB BB UBB HBP SO ERA FIP FRA VORP WARP
2006 BOS 22 15 15 81.3 81.3 0.0 7 2 0 0 5 1 367 91 43 43 7 134 43 42 5 60 4.76 4.60 4.80 10.8 1.0
2007 BOS 23 12 11 63.0 61.0 2.0 4 0 0 0 5 1 275 61 33 32 10 98 31 31 1 50 4.57 5.31 6.34 -2.0 -0.2
2008 BOS 24 33 33 210.3 210.3 0.0 16 6 0 0 20 2 874 202 78 75 14 290 66 65 10 152 3.21 3.67 4.26 34.1 3.1
2009 BOS 25 32 32 203.3 203.3 0.0 15 8 0 0 23 0 843 186 80 77 20 281 64 64 3 225 3.41 3.20 3.73 52.5 5.3
2010 BOS 26 32 32 208.0 208.0 0.0 19 9 0 0 20 1 861 167 81 75 14 246 83 83 10 225 3.25 3.10 4.37 34.6 3.8
2011 BOS 27 31 31 191.7 191.7 0.0 15 9 0 0 19 1 799 166 77 74 20 265 75 75 11 182 3.47 3.86 4.58 22.4 2.2
2012 BOS 28 33 33 205.3 205.3 0.0 9 14 0 0 17 2 876 216 117 110 25 350 68 66 4 166 4.82 4.06 5.07 12.9 1.2
2013 BOS 29 33 33 213.3 213.3 0.0 15 8 0 0 20 3 903 209 94 89 19 322 67 67 7 177 3.75 3.61 4.03 26.3 2.7
2014 BOS 30 20 20 137.0 137.0 0.0 10 7 0 0 15 1 555 122 50 38 8 179 31 31 4 142 2.50 2.63 2.99 32.4 3.4
Career2412401513.31511.32.01106300144126353142065361313721655285245513793.653.624.32224.022.5

Advanced

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP FRA FRA+ TAv oppAVG oppOBP oppSLG oppTAv BABIP PPF PVORP PWARP VORP WARP
2003 AUG A 24 21 106.0 0.00 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .295 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2004 SAR A+ 21 20 90.3 0.00 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .329 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2005 PME AA 26 26 148.3 0.00 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 -.444 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2006 BOS MLB 15 15 81.3 4.80 108 .275 .277 .338 .441 .263 .333 105 11.5 1.1 10.8 1.0
2006 PAW AAA 11 11 46.0 4.93 86 .263 .260 .328 .393 .258 .284 100 2.0 0.2 2.0 0.2
2007 BOS MLB 12 11 63.0 6.34 71 .265 .271 .336 .427 .267 .279 101 -2.0 -0.2 -2.0 -0.2
2007 GRN A 3 3 13.0 4.75 99 .216 .252 .316 .376 .256 .281 99 1.8 0.2 1.8 0.2
2007 PME AA 1 1 6.0 4.21 114 .249 .249 .336 .345 .253 .263 106 0.9 0.1 0.9 0.1
2007 PAW AAA 14 14 71.7 4.32 97 .246 .268 .335 .397 .261 .284 91 4.4 0.4 4.4 0.4
2008 BOS MLB 33 33 210.3 4.26 116 .234 .266 .333 .418 .261 .297 107 34.4 3.5 34.1 3.1
2009 BOS MLB 32 32 203.3 3.73 130 .227 .266 .334 .430 .262 .313 111 52.0 5.2 52.5 5.3
2010 BOS MLB 32 32 208.0 4.37 113 .220 .258 .323 .409 .255 .289 113 34.3 3.6 34.6 3.8
2011 BOS MLB 31 31 191.7 4.58 105 .242 .257 .323 .417 .265 .286 108 22.9 2.4 22.4 2.2
2012 BOS MLB 33 33 205.3 5.07 91 .266 .252 .315 .406 .259 .312 105 13.7 1.5 12.9 1.2
2013 BOS MLB 33 33 213.3 4.03 107 .259 .256 .318 .408 .267 .300 100 26.5 2.9 26.3 2.7
2014 BOS MLB 20 20 137.0 2.99 134 .228 .257 .317 .397 .258 .308 106 33.2 3.6 32.4 3.4

Statistics For All Levels

Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
Year Team Lg W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR GB% BABIP H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 WHIP ERA VORP WARP
2003 AUG A 6 9 0 24 21 106.0 102 44 71 7 0% .295 8.7 3.7 0.6 6.0 1.38 3.65 0.0 0.0
2004 SAR A+ 7 6 0 21 20 90.3 82 37 97 2 0% .329 8.2 3.7 0.2 9.7 1.32 4.29 0.0 0.0
2005 PME AA 11 6 0 26 26 148.3 114 57 163 10 0% -.444 6.9 3.5 0.6 9.9 1.15 2.61 0.0 0.0
2006 BOS MLB 7 2 0 15 15 81.3 91 43 60 7 41% .333 10.1 4.8 0.8 6.6 1.65 4.76 10.8 1.0
2006 PAW AAA 3 4 0 11 11 46.0 43 25 43 5 44% .284 8.4 4.9 1.0 8.4 1.48 2.74 2.0 0.2
2007 GRN A 0 0 0 3 3 13.0 11 2 15 2 50% .281 7.6 1.4 1.4 10.4 1.00 2.08 1.8 0.2
2007 BOS MLB 4 0 0 12 11 63.0 61 31 50 10 36% .279 8.7 4.4 1.4 7.1 1.46 4.57 -2.0 -0.2
2007 PME AA 1 0 0 1 1 6.0 5 4 4 0 32% .263 7.5 6.0 0.0 6.0 1.50 1.50 0.9 0.1
2007 PAW AAA 4 5 0 14 14 71.7 67 31 51 4 45% .284 8.4 3.9 0.5 6.4 1.37 3.89 4.4 0.4
2008 BOS MLB 16 6 0 33 33 210.3 202 66 152 14 50% .297 8.6 2.8 0.6 6.5 1.27 3.21 34.1 3.1
2009 BOS MLB 15 8 0 32 32 203.3 186 64 225 20 49% .313 8.2 2.8 0.9 10.0 1.23 3.41 52.5 5.3
2010 BOS MLB 19 9 0 32 32 208.0 167 83 225 14 54% .289 7.2 3.6 0.6 9.7 1.20 3.25 34.6 3.8
2011 BOS MLB 15 9 0 31 31 191.7 166 75 182 20 51% .286 7.8 3.5 0.9 8.5 1.26 3.47 22.4 2.2
2012 BOS MLB 9 14 0 33 33 205.3 216 68 166 25 51% .312 9.5 3.0 1.1 7.3 1.38 4.82 12.9 1.2
2013 BOS MLB 15 8 0 33 33 213.3 209 67 177 19 46% .300 8.8 2.8 0.8 7.5 1.29 3.75 26.3 2.7
2014 BOS MLB 10 7 0 20 20 137.0 122 31 142 8 46% .308 8.0 2.0 0.5 9.3 1.12 2.50 32.4 3.4

Plate Discipline

YEAR PITCHES ZONE_RT SWING_RT CONTACT_RT Z_SWING_RT O_SWING_RT Z_CONTACT_RT O_CONTACT_RT SW_STRK_RT
2008 3147 0.4979 0.4719 0.8310 0.6126 0.3323 0.9042 0.6971 0.1690
2009 3381 0.5040 0.4605 0.7649 0.6045 0.3143 0.8602 0.5787 0.2331
2010 3350 0.4973 0.4433 0.7643 0.5978 0.2904 0.8584 0.5726 0.2350
2011 3184 0.4790 0.4479 0.8001 0.6230 0.2869 0.8884 0.6239 0.1985
2012 3419 0.4756 0.4521 0.8025 0.6292 0.2906 0.8856 0.6392 0.1949
2013 3559 0.4847 0.4705 0.8190 0.6504 0.3010 0.8984 0.6576 0.1798
2014 2196 0.4695 0.4668 0.7912 0.6421 0.3116 0.8822 0.6253 0.2068
Career222360.48770.45860.79620.62210.30330.88240.62750.2024

Injury History

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2013-06-28 2013-07-03 DTD 5 4 Right Hip Strain - -
2012-08-25 2012-08-30 DTD 5 5 Left Thigh Strain Hamstring - -
2012-05-19 2012-05-19 DTD 0 0 - Low Back Stiffness - -
2011-07-06 2011-07-25 15-DL 19 14 Left Shoulder Strain Latissimus Dorsi - -
2011-03-05 2011-03-11 Camp 6 0 General Medical Respiratory Flu -
2009-09-26 2009-09-26 DTD 0 0 Right Thigh Contusion Quadriceps -
2009-09-01 2009-09-01 DTD 0 0 Right Groin Strain -
2007-03-23 2007-06-11 60-DL 80 62 General Medical Recovery From Surgery Cancer -
2006-08-24 2006-10-01 60-DL 38 35 General Medical Illness Lymphoma -

Compensation

Year Team Salary
2014 BOS $13,000,000
2013 BOS $11,625,000
2012 BOS $7,630,000
2011 BOS $5,750,000
2010 BOS $3,750,000
2009 BOS $1,000,000
2008 BOS $421,500
2007 BOS $384,000
YearsDescriptionSalary
7 yrPrevious$30,560,500
2011Current$13,000,000
8 yrPvs + Cur$43,560,500
8 yrTotal$43,560,500

 

Service TimeAgentContract Status
7 y 75 dJosh Yates, ACES5 years/$30M (2009-13), 2014 option

Details
  • 5 years/$30M (2009-13), plus 2014 club option. Signed extension with Boston 3/15/09. 09:$1M, 10:$3.75M, 11:$5.75M, 12:$7.625M, 13:$11.625M, 14:$13M club option, $0.25M buyout. Award bonuses: $50,000 each for LCS MVP, All-Star. $0.1M each for WS MVP, Cy Young, MVP ($75,000 for 2nd place, $50,000 for 3rd). 2014 club option voided with trade if Lester is 1st or 2nd in Cy Young vote in 2009-13.
  • 1 year (2009). Re-signed by Boston 3/10/09.
  • 1 year/$0.4215M (2008). Re-signed by Boston 3/08.
  • 1 year/$0.384M (2007). Re-signed by Boston 3/07. Optioned to Triple-A 6/11/07. Recalled 7/23/07. Optioned to Triple-A 8/23/07. Recalled 9/2/07.
  • 1 year (2006). Contract purchased by Boston 11/05. Re-signed by Boston 2/06. Optioned to Triple-A 3/06. Recalled 6/06.
  • Drafted by Boston 2002 (2-57) (Puyallup HS, Wash.) $1M signing bonus.

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Platoon

SORT_FIELD PLATOON AVG OBP SLG TAv
10 vs L (Multi) .239 .291 .387 .242
11 vs R (Multi) .258 .325 .399 .257
18 Split (Multi) -.019 -.035 -.012 -.015
19 LgAvg (Multi) -.026 -.032 -.063 -.030
30 vs L (2013) .237 .278 .392 .251
31 vs R (2013) .257 .323 .388 .254
38 Split (2013) -.021 -.045 .004 -.003
39 LgAvg (2013) -.025 -.031 -.062 -.029

BP Annual Player Comments

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BP Articles

Jon Lester is referenced in the following articles.

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Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: Diagnosing DisappointmentDoug Thorburn2012-09-28
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On the Beat: Invasion of the Young ArmsJohn Perrotto2011-07-15
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Transaction Analysis Blog: M's Promote SeagerR.J. Anderson2011-07-07
Collateral Damage: Albert Already?Ben Lindbergh2011-07-06
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Pre-Season Predictions: Staff Picks for 2011Baseball Prospectus2011-03-31
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Prospectus Hit List: AL Pre-Season Hit ListTommy Bennett2011-03-28
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Fantasy Focus: AL Starting Pitcher RankingsMarc Normandin2011-02-25
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Fantasy Beat: Donnybrook - Carl CrawfordJason Collette2011-02-07
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Wezen-Ball: The 2011 Preview Magazines Are Here!Larry Granillo2011-02-02
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Pre-Season Predictions : Staff Picks for 2010Baseball Prospectus2010-04-04
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BP Chats

DateQuestionAnswer
2014-04-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)So I sent a behemoth of detailed question on Jon Lester for the podcast.....
(Matt from Cambridge)
It was a great question, Matt, and I really appreciated the details + background info/analysis that you included with your question. We will definitely be using it on Episode 20 of TINSTAAPP. (Doug Thorburn)
2013-10-30 12:00:00 (link to chat)If there is a game 7, how many pitches will Jon Lester throw in it? How many will John Lackey throw it in? How many will Koji Uehara throw in it?
(William from Los Angeles)
Lackey won't be back for a Game 7. If he throws a lot of pitches and Boston loses he won't be back, and if he gets crushed so much so that he doesn't throw many pitches, the team won't want him back even if he can come back. Wouldn't shock me if Lester threw an inning, but almost certainly not more than that. Koji may throw six. (Matthew Kory)
2013-07-23 13:00:00 (link to chat)Are you worried more about Clay Bucholz's lat/neck, Jon Lester's psyche or Lackey's descent back to earth the most?
(jlarsen from Chicago burbs)
Clay's health. He's a fun young pitcher and I'd like to see him around in good form. (Harry Pavlidis)
2013-04-11 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hey, Matthew. I watched the first few innings of Dickey's start against the Sox from the Rogers Centre pressbox, and caused a considerable commotion, repeatedly smashing my head against the wall. Could you articulate the emotions you felt during that eventful opening frame? I'd tell you how I felt, but the expletives might offend some readers.
(Jonah Birenbaum from Ottawa)
I was expecting a pitcher's duel between Dickey and Jon Lester. Lester showed up at least. No, I thought that Dickey just didn't look right and then he tried to sneak a fastball past Will Middlebrooks with two on and two in and that didn't work. Still, I think it's just two bad starts and the chances are good Dickey figures this out and starts pitching more to what was expected of him.

And now I realize that I didn't answer your question. Elation is what I felt. It's wonderful to see the Red Sox play good baseball after the last few seasons, Joel Hanrahan's performance last night notwithstanding. Is that one word? Three words? Two and a half? The cold is numbing my brain. I need to go inside. (Matthew Kory)
2012-12-19 13:00:00 (link to chat)When people say Matt Barnes has the potential to be a number 2, what does that really mean? Who are some current major league pitchers that you consider to be number 2s?
(Tom from Mainer)
That you're looking at a pitcher that can be above-average to well above-average at the major league level. I always saw Jon Lester prior to his rough 2012 season as a number 2. Barnes may end up a notch below that, or a number 3, but he's got potential for some seasons on that level. (Chris Mellen)
2012-11-29 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Dan, thanks for the chat. If you are Dayton Moore, do you even begin to think about trading a guy like Wil Myers for Jon Lester or James Shields?
(Chris from AZ)
You have to always consider a deal for an established, high-end starting pitcher, especially when your side is moving an unproven minor leaguer. That doesn't mean that you have to do it. Myers' value will never be higher than it is right now. Those two starters you mentioned might not even be available, so don't get too excited. It all comes down to what your other options are, and how much they will cost in terms of players, money, and commitment. The Royals are on the brink of some really good things, and that fan base is so damn ready for a winning product. Dayton Moore has a good feel for the game, and learned from one of the greatest GM's ever in John Schuerholz. (Dan Evans)
2012-11-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)Jason, even with Iwakuma's re-signing, it still feels like the M's still need to address the rotation. What are your thoughts on Jon Lester, and what kind of cost would be attached to trading for him?
(Tom from Seattle)
I see Seattle lying in the weeds on rotation upgrades. If they need the cash, they can try and trade Vargas and the $8 mil or so he'll get in arbitration and toss that at another arm, but the focus has to be offense and that is where most of the assets have to be spent this winter. It won't be a perfect team, even if they get the bats they want the most, but they'll be well on their way. Unrelated note, Seattle just traded Trayvon Robinson to Baltimore for Robert Andino. World Series. (Jason A. Churchill)
2012-11-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)It's my hunch that it's only a matter of time until Giancarlo Stanton requests a trade. Given that EVERY team in MLB would jump in on this, who has either the most pieces or the best pieces to match up with the Marlins needs?
(Tom from Seattle )
I think it might take a three-way deal for Miami to get true value, which is why I don't see anything happening anytime real soon, regardless of how unhappy he is with the organization. Also, Tom, on Jon Lester -- I think he's damaged goods. I wouldn't give up value for him right now. (Jason A. Churchill)
2012-08-07 13:00:00 (link to chat)What has happened to Jon Lester? Just an off year or something more worrisome? Have you heard anything from scouts on him?
(Wicked Fah from Boston)
I wish I knew. I've had some scouts who think there are some mechanical issues. (Kevin Goldstein)
2012-07-25 13:30:00 (link to chat)Do you think the Red Sox would trade Ellsbury seeing as its unlikely he'll resign after the 2013 season because of his agent. And what do you think is wrong with the Sox? They seem to have a lot of great pieces.
(Ben from Canada)
This time tomorrow, I'll be in Ben in Canada, as I'm about to make my semi-annual pilgrimage to BC. For now, though, I'm still Ben in Manhattan, so let me try to answer your question. I think the odds are against an Ellsbury trade. He might re-sign, and if he doesn't, he'll get them a comp pick in the 2014 draft. As my old pal Marc Normandin points out, the Sox are probably hoping that Jackie Bradley will be ready to replace him in center in the event that he leaves.

As for the Sox' struggles: some answers can be found on the disabled list, but it doesn't help that Josh Beckett and Jon Lester (one of the most consistently good starters in baseball over the past four seasons) have been unexpectedly bad. Whether you want to assign any blame to this season's various clubhouse flare-ups is a decision between you and your god.

You're right about the good pieces, though. Despite everything that's gone wrong, the Sox are still at .500 and technically in contention. (Ben Lindbergh)
2011-05-23 13:00:00 (link to chat)Is Ryan Raburn even worth holding onto in AL leagues at this point?
(paulbellows from Calgary)
You can gauge my fantasy expertise, or lack thereof, by the fact that I traded a $20 Jon Lester for a $5 Ryan Raburn in my 12-team AL-only league this spring. I'm still holding onto him and hoping for the best, but I'm doubtful he's going to see anything close to the 500 ABs I was hoping for in spring. I still believe he has hitting talent. He's not going to hit for a great average, but his power is good enough, and his glove will help keep him in the field. However, Boesch is pushing his playing time, and Detroit is in a position in the division where they may be less likely to be patient with Raburn's early struggles. (Mike Fast)
2011-04-05 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Steven. After the Red Sox cut Daniel Bard, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, and fire Terry Francona they can still win 140 games and win the World Series, right?
(mattymatty2000 from Portland, OR)
The panic in Boston is as exaggerated as this question, and I'm sure that if an angel sent Lot into the city to find 20 good men who weren't panicked by an early sweep, he would easily fulfill his quota and spare Beantown a hail of brimstone. The Red Sox are still the class of the league. Some champions go wire-to-wire, some don't. That's all it is. (Steven Goldman)
2010-09-21 13:00:00 (link to chat)What do you make of the Cy Young argument in the American League?
(Bobby G from Helena)
I think it should be Felix Hernandez or Jon Lester, and it comes down to their last few starts. Lester seemed like he had fallen out of the race, but he has been nigh untouchable for about five starts now and propelled himself right back into it. I wrote something about it about a week ago, but then he went and shut the Jays down over the weekend as well. Here's a link! (Marc Normandin)
2010-06-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)Where does Jon Lester fit into the discussion of being one of baseballs finest hurlers....?
(caseyj15 from Medford, Oregon)
He might be a top five guy. Taking more than just half a season into account I'd put Halladay, Lincecum, and Lee above him, and maybe Josh Johnson as well, but there aren't a whole lot of others who definitively belong above him. (Jay Jaffe)
2010-04-28 13:00:00 (link to chat)I know he started slowly in 2009 also, but how long before Jon Lester turns things around this year?
(mcquown from Chicago)
That's a hard question to answer in some ways, but presumably not very long. Nothing appears to be wrong physically and his stuff seems fine. I was at Fenway for a game recentyly where he struck out the side in the first inning but then quickly devolved into suckitude. Good pitchers usually get over these bumps sooner rather than later, and if doesn't, well....the Red Sox are in deep doo doo. (David Laurila)
2010-02-11 13:00:00 (link to chat)How would you rate in order the following pitchers by overall (short and long term) value? Johan Santana, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Randy Wells, Derek Lowe and Josh Johnson.
(caseyj15 from Medford, OR)
Short term: Santana, Johnson, Beckett, Lester, Lowe, Wells

Long term: Santana, Johnson, Lester, Beckett, Wells, Lowe (Shawn Hoffman)
2010-01-21 13:00:00 (link to chat)The first Red Sox player to be selected in a non-keeper fantasy league is _____.
(BR from NYC)
Jon Lester. (Marc Normandin)
2009-09-14 16:30:00 (link to chat)Jon Lester: great pitcher or the greatest pitcher? But seriously, folks, how awesome has Lester been? I know that's terrible question, but I'm sending it in anyway. Thanks for the chat!
(mattymatty from Phillly, PA)
"I'll put you down for greatest."

In all honesty, his ridiculous jump in strikeout rate is insane! Without even dropping his walk rate too! It looks like he is throwing all the same pitches, and only a little bit faster than before, but just getting people to miss like crazy. It's a great story, and he's a great story in general. (Matt Swartz)
2009-09-02 13:00:00 (link to chat)Just how good is Jon Lester?
(mattymatty from Philly)
As odd as this may sound, Lester has done so well that he is no longer thought of as a cancer-survivor pitching in the big leagues. As I wrote in our Player Profile of him last year, reputations are hard to shake in the big league level, and Lester has performed so well that he has transformed his rep from "he survived a debilitating illness to become an MLB pitcher" to "he's one of the best lefties in the game." (Eric Seidman)
2009-09-08 13:00:00 (link to chat)I'm not going to win the Cy Young somehow, am I?
(Mo Rivera from Bronx)
I know your ERA is shiny, but do you really deserve it, Mo? Jon Lester is worth about three times as many wins as you, and he isn't even my pick for AL Cy Young (hi Zack Greinke!) (Marc Normandin)
2009-07-13 14:00:00 (link to chat)Still think we've already seen the best of Jon Lester's career?
(judy from MA)
With a 60% in K rate and no loss of other features, I'd have to say that I'm open to the idea that I was wrong. Keep in mind that he's still not as good, overall, as he was a year ago.

The lesson here is probably to remember that players with nonstandard development paths--Lester's was interrupted by cancer--need to be regarded carefully. (Joe Sheehan)
2009-06-24 13:00:00 (link to chat)In reference to J.P. from Harford's non-question about jerseys, purchasing a jersey is an interesting conundrum. On one hand you want to have one of your favorite player, but on the other you have to be careful that your favorite player doesn't end up playing against your favorite team in a year's time. This is not only embarrassing (see "Damon, Johnny"), but expensive (see "Damon, Johnny"). I just recently put in for a Jon Lester jersey. Lester is signed through 2014 if the Red Sox want him that long. By that time I'll hopefully have saved up for another jersey if necessary.... I guess I don't have a question either.
(mattymatty from Philly)
I initially read that as "I just recently put in for a Johnny LeMaster jersey," which would make you my hero of the day. Or I would feel really sorry for your delusional state. I'm not sure which. Roy Sievers would be a much better choice. (Steven Goldman)
2009-06-18 13:00:00 (link to chat)Marc, you're always very methodical, realistic, and fact based in your assesment of future player performance. How about making a bold, gut-based prediction - right here, right now?
(ericmilburn from San Francisco)
Hey, I appreciate that a lot. So I hope that means no one holds this against me. Jon Lester will win the AL Cy Young this year. (Marc Normandin)
2009-05-18 14:00:00 (link to chat)Have we seen the best of Jon Lester, or is this just a temporary bump in the road?
(mattymatty from Philly)
I'll admit to being a Lester believer, but I accept that many of my colleagues disagree and have suggested that we've seen his best work. I think his PECOTA comps are appropriately suggestive, given his age; I see Bob Knepper '79 or Tom Glavine '91, and I figure the upside play's worth dreaming on, even while I'd admit that it's a reach. (Christina Kahrl)
2009-04-06 13:00:00 (link to chat)"He may be the Red Sox' second-best starting pitcher by October." Who's #1? Beckett or Lester?
(Justin from Chapel Hill, NC)
Beckett. I think we just saw Jon Lester's best season. (Joe Sheehan)
2009-02-16 14:00:00 (link to chat)Jon Lester will pitch ____ innings this season.
(mhixpgh from Pittsburgh)
204.2. I was gonna go with 206, but there is that start against the Twins in August when Francona is going to pull him too early. (Kevin Goldstein)
2009-02-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hey Bryan, long time no chat. I've been reading your stuff for years, and I remember Jon Lester was always one of your favorites, going back to when he was a little-known prospect and you correctly predicted a breakout 2005 double A season for him. You said back then that lefties with his kind of stuff are very rare. Now that he's more polished, I'm curious to hear how you think his stuff rates on the scouting scale. Were you surprised by his stellar 2008 season, and what do you see in his future? Do you think he could be great, as opposed to just very good? Would you take Lester or Sabathia for the next five years? THANKS, and great to see you around again!
(Christina from Brookline)
Thanks Christina, good to be here. That was a good year for my breakout prospect list, and I've been admiring Lester ever since. As far as southpaws go, few have better stuff than Lester, who really broke through after adding that final pitch a year ago. I have to admit I didn't see such success coming as soon as 2008, when he really wasn't far down the Cy Young ballot. I think you have to take Sabathia for the next five years, but I do think Lester can develop into a real ace. (Bryan Smith)
2009-02-10 14:00:00 (link to chat)Which AL starters do you think can consistently be among the best in terms of pitching the most innings and allowing the fewest runs over the next three years (other than Halladay and Sabathia)?
(DS from Monterey Park, CA)
I guess I like rolling the dice after all, but I think Jon Lester, John Danks, and King Felix are all ready to settle in and start doing better and better things. (Christina Kahrl)
2009-01-29 13:00:00 (link to chat)Do you think Jon Lester will continue to improve this year?
(Lily from Boston)
In the sense that he won't start out pitching poorly, yes. I'm not sure that he can do much better than what he did once he put things together though. I would expect more along the lines of his excellent run from that start against Halladay onward, which will make his overall 2009 stats appear better than his 2008 ones. (Marc Normandin)
2008-12-23 14:00:00 (link to chat)Would you rather have the next 7 years of Jon Lester or Zack Greinke? How about Clay Kershaw or Francisco Liriano?
(doog7642 from Blaine, MN)
Lester and Liriano, but that's as much about who they're with as it is a comment strictly about their talent. (Christina Kahrl)
2008-11-19 13:00:00 (link to chat)I recall you writing somewhere that you had a theory that Jon Lester seemed to become stronger towards the end of the season, in spite of pitching many more innings than he had ever before, because he had built up stamina when he was pitching in a weakened state in 2007, his "recovery" year. Could you elaborate, and do you think his performance next year will suffer from his 70 inning jump this year?
(Opel from Boston)
Just a theory. I think his 2007 had a "multiplier" in there because he was building stamina at less than full strength and came out fine. The Red Sox have much better data and over the next few years, they're going to really build an advantage with pitchers unless some other teams catch up. Mike Reinold might end up as valuable as any player on their team by 2012. (Will Carroll)
2008-10-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Did you see any markers from Jon Lester that indicate excessive fatigue/injury or was it just one of those games where good hitters beat a good pitcher?
(Joe from Tewksbury, MA)
Looked a bit tired, wasn't as sharp, just couldn't establish himself. I don't think the Sox - a team that can quantify strength and fatigue in addition to having a solid pitching coach - would send him out there with excessive anything. (Will Carroll)
2008-10-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)You are Theo Epstein: would you trade Jon Lester for Brian McCann?
(mattymatty from Philly)
Two separate people just suggested this.

Yes, I do. But I'm ridiculously high on McCann, and am notoriously wary of pitchers. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-10-06 14:00:00 (link to chat)Which teams has the better chance to pull the upset, the Angels or the White Sox?
(Rob from Brighton)
White Sox. They're facing the lesser team, with Game Four at home, and instead of facing Jon Lester, they're facing Andrew Sonnanstine. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-08-29 12:00:00 (link to chat)Recent start in Toronto notwithstanding, is Jon Lester as good as he's pitched this year?
(doughowgate from Boston)
I think the big question with Lester is whether or not his step forward in G/F ratio is sustainable. If you take a look at his pre-season PECOTA card (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/lestejo01.php), he's way down in the bottom 20% of pitchers in G/F--a flyball pitcher. Last year his ratio was 0.77, the year before that 1.03. This year it's up to 1.43, and he's gotten 23 ground-ball double plays already, which has obviously been huge because his WHIP (1.30) isn't fantastic. With all those grounders he's also cut his homer rate by a huge amount. Given that he's 24 I certainly wouldn't bet against this being the start of a really great career. (Caleb Peiffer)
2008-06-18 13:00:00 (link to chat)Who do you think should start the All Star game for the AL? I think it should be Kazmir. You better not say Mussina...
(Erik from OPS,FL)
Francona picking for a game played in Yankee? I don't think you can say Jon Lester, though that would be my pick. Mussina? Hell, it's an exhibition. Why not? (Will Carroll)
2008-05-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)Jon Lester: middling pitcher who got lucky last night? Or is he as good as his champions insist?
(Nick Stone from New York, NY)
Hey Nick! It certainly helped that Lester was facing the Royals, a team whose offense I referred to in the Hit List a couple weeks back as the Double-A affiliate of the Little Sisters of the Poor, though they do fare better against lefties than righties.

Lester is a pitcher who's got some upside, but PECOTA doesn't love him. The current weighted mean forecast on his card is for a 5.04 ERA, and it's not hard to see why; his track record is that of a flyball pitcher who tends to walk too many hitters relative to the number he strikes out. He's walking 4.2 per nine even after last night, and striking out 5.7 -- not a very good ratio, but he
s gotten away with it this year thanks in part to a .255 BABIP.

Beating cancer is a great story, and pitching a no-hitter is icing on the cake, but he's still got work to do to become a top-shelf pitcher. (Jay Jaffe)
2008-03-26 12:00:00 (link to chat)What do you see for Edison Volquez this year? And is Jon Lester going to vastly underperform the RSN expectations? He puts far too many men on base.
(big baby from nj)
I know Volquez is the popular breakout pitcher this year, with Milledge taking that title as breakout hitter. Talk about post-hype breakout candidates, huh? Volquez is good, but he's going to have a lot of bad starts ... remember, he's never been consistent. And when you ask me about Lester, you have to remember I'm a huge fanboy. I think he's only going to improve from last year's start. (Bryan Smith)
2008-01-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Will: Who do you see as comeback player of the year in 2008? Were you serious about Schilling for Cy Young; can he stay healthy enough to rack up those wins. The Sox were pretty cautious with him this year and it paid off well.
(Pat Barry from Albany NY)
The Sox weren't cautious, they were smart. I think they can be smart all season and given the Sox talent, anyone that makes 34 starts for them could get to 20 wins. Note that the Cy is almost always decided on wins, which makes it relatively easy to predict. I'm not saying they're the BEST pitcher out there (though Sabathia was ... tho Bedard was better aside from the injury, but was on a terrible team.)

I'll admit to not really understanding the comeback player award. I'd guess someone like Ryan or maybe even Jon Lester could get votes. (Will Carroll)
2008-01-28 13:00:00 (link to chat)Kevin Goldstein has said that towards the end of the season, it looked like Jon Lester's stuff was coming back to pre-cancer form. Gammons mentioned that his changeup and curveball improved dramatically in the postseason. What did you see, and how do you think Jon Lester will perform this season? Do you think it's a good bet his command will improve? Do you still see him as having a high ceiling?
(Kris from NJ)
Oh, there is an absolutely undeniable difference between Lester in that gutsy first start against Cleveland and Lester in the playoffs. Against the Indians in the regular season, his stuff was not back, particularly his curveball I thought. I think he will be much better this season, and I'm just so glad his ceiling will be unaffected by the bump in the road he had to deal with. (Bryan Smith)


BP Roundtables

DateRoundtable NameComment
2008-10-13 17:00:00NLCS Game FourAs far as tonight goes...well, I'm the guy who thought Jon Lester at Fenway against the Rays was just this side of a gimme.

I'm kinda rooting for the Phillies to hit lots of singles to center with a runner on second.

I don't know exactly who the coverage is aimed at, Gary, but it occurs to me that there are more of them than there are of us. And they vote. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-10-02 11:00:00Thursday Playoff GamesHey Joe, Jon Lester says hi. (Will Carroll)
 

PITCHf/x Pitcher Profile

A Collaboration between BrooksBaseball.net and Baseball Prospectus - Pitch classifications provided by Pitch Info LLC


Jon Lester has thrown 23,453 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2014, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and the MLB Postseason. In 2014, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (93mph) and Cutter (89mph), also mixing in a Curve (77mph) and Sinker (92mph). He also rarely throws a Change (86mph).