Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jon Lester 2010: Best Pitcher in AL?

I think it's probably finally time for me to admit it: yes, Jon Lester is better than Clay Buccholz, and probably will continue to be better. I was wrong. Actually, Lester is better than pretty much everyone. His peripheral numbers were very similar to Tim Lincecum...but in the much tougher American League. I think an argument could be made that he was the best pitcher in the AL last year, as he made a tremendous jump in strikeout rate (from 2008 K/9 of 6.50 to 2009 K/9 of 9.96), maintained his good control (BB/9: 2.83) and maintained his excellent groundball rate (47.7%). Normally, I'd be very wary of that huge jump in strikeout, and expect some regression. However, this article points out that on average, Lester's fastball was substantially faster in 2009 than in 2008, suggesting that the drastic increase may represent a real improvement that he can maintain in 2010.


Anonymous said...

Verlander without a doubt.

Buckwheat_Groats said...

I can understand choosing Verlander, but understand that Lester has improved each year whereas Verlander had to rebound from a lackluster 2008 to enjoy his 2009 uber-season. Will Verlander continue on his ascending path or will he suffer from Beckett-itus, that is, performing well in even numbered years?

Alex said...

To me, Lester's superior groundball rate gives him an edge over Verlander.