Home > MLB > 40 Guys in 30 Days: Jon Lester

40 Guys in 30 Days: Jon Lester

Much like the collapse of 2011, Jon Lester has received a fair amount of blame for the Red Sox’ ineptitude this year. Unlike 2011, however, this time he actually deserves it.

Jon Lester
2012 stats: 180.1 IP, 150 K, 62 BB, 22 HR
4.99 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 3.82 xFIP; 2.9 fWAR, 0.1 bWAR
2013 contract status: $11.625 million (club option for ’14)

If there were concerns over the drop in Lester’s strikeout rate last year (8.55 K/9 in 2011 after two years close to 10), those concerns have to be even more pressing now. This year marks the third straight season that Lester’s seen his K rate drop, and not surprisingly he’s seen his ERA go through the roof along with it.

Even though he is walking fewer batters (2012’s is his lowest BB rate since 2009), Lester hasn’t been able to adjust for the decline in his ability to strike out opposing hitters. He’s allowed the highest line drive rate of his career this year; that, as well as the simple fact that there are more balls in play, serves to explain why he’s stranded fewer runners and allowed more home runs than any other time in his career.

If you want some signs of hope, you don’t have to look too far. Lester has done a better job of late, dropping his ERA by half a run since his disastrous 11-run start against the Blue Jays. And even if he really has lost the dominant form that he showed for three great seasons from 2008-10, there’s more than a fair amount of bad luck involved in his 2012 results, as shown in the huge disparity between his ERA and FIP. Even if this is Lester’s true talent, we should still expect to see better results from him going forward.

Next time: Oh, crap, I forgot to write about Adrian Gonzalez! Um…we’ll do that tomorrow.

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