18 May 2006

Jon Lester Update, No. 9

Mr. #1 Prospect threw last night. I'm gonna keep up with Jon this season. It's settled. Don't everyone cheer at once. It was his 8th start of the year, and while he's not getting decisions, he is starting to get consistent results. His K rate, K/BB rate, and WHIP are all very strong even when factoring his first few appearances. His HR allowed have plummeted as well.

As well as he's thrown, he's still a ways away from Boston. But moving towards mastering AAA is a great step. Let's take a look.



Lester picked up right where he left off last start by throwing 5.2 excellent innings last night in Buffalo for what ended up being a Pawtucket loss.

Jon's line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (92 pitches)

GB: 5
FB: 7
SO: 5

Jon also gave up two unearned runs.

Remember- Baseball Prospectus for one was a little more down than most on Lester because of his gb/fb ratio. If it tilts below average in the minors, even despite some success, it can end up being a bad indicator for the long run. I don't think we're there yet, though, and the only realistic issue anyone could have with this outing was that he wasn't as efficient as you'd like him to be with 92 pitches.

But right now, Jon's pitching really, really well. It's a great sign, adapting to both early struggle, and a level jump. I'm really pumped about this player. Consider this as well- here are Jon's numbers since his 60-pitch count was removed:

20.2 IP, 1.31 ERA, 5 BBs and 19 Ks

In an older article in The Globe, we get a look at how routine-oriented Lester is, and how much of his success often banks on this.

Lester, being the creature of habit he is, appeared thoroughly unsuited to relieving. In his debut, in Bradenton, he was told before the game he'd follow Schilling. But when Schilling was done, Lester wasn't sufficiently warmed up, so the club pitched Edgar Martinez an inning. When Lester did come in, he threw eight of his first nine pitches for balls.

He's pitched in relief only a couple of times in his minor league career, and, he said, ''It didn't work out for me. I never knew when I was going in. I kind of need to have a routine. If I don't have that routine, everything's off."

Reminds me of Mike Mussina. That's not a great trait to have, honestly, and his inability to be broken in as a long man in the Boston bullpen will probably delay his arrival time, frankly. But, this can also be used to put his start to this season in a bit more context.

Here's the PawSox game story from ProJo (reg. req.):

The Bisons took the lead in the bottom of the third with a pair of unearned runs off Pawtucket starter Jon Lester. Both scored with two out when Jason Dubois' low liner to right hit the glove of Allen and bounded away.

Jon has been doing a "Prospect Diary" for Baseball America. Here's the archive. Jon has recently updated on May 10th and May 17th.

I'm finally starting to get the hang of things here in Pawtucket. The game is starting to slow down and I am able to control the tempo a little more easily. Before when things weren't going all that great, I was unable to control what my tempo was and control what I wanted to throw.

My last outing was a great example of controlling the tempo. Up until the fourth inning things were going pretty well, until a couple of errors that allowed a run, and a possible rally. But I was able to control my thoughts and tempo and put a stop to the rally and possible big inning...

During spring training I was able to form a relationship with Curt Schilling. He was very helpful with the mental side of the game. We discussed a lot about what has helped him in the past with the ups and downs of a major league season. We still talk every now and again about different things regarding every angle of pitching, and it's always good to have a brain like that to be able to pick.

Jon's journal is definitely worth checking out. He usually has at least one very revealing/ insightful point about his season and progress in every entry.

Jon's next start looks to be scheduled May 23rd at home against the Louisville Bats, Cincinatti's AAA affiliate. OFs Cody Ross and Chris Denorfia lead the team in OPS. Note that his start may get shuffled around with all the makeups possible to get squeezed in for the PawSox.

Tuesday, April 4th
Friday, April 7th
Friday, April 14th
Wednesday, April 19th
Thursday, April 27th
Tuesday, May 2nd
Sunday, May 7th
Wednesday, May 10th
Tuesday, May 16th

Couple quick notes- I'll have a little LOST entry up tonight, and if you've got time, check out James Wrona's work online, especially if you like zombies. If you don't, start liking zombies. They're zombies, but they appreciate warmth just like the rest of us.

They'll still eat your genitals, though, among other things. Just pointing that out. May turn you OFF to zombies, but I'll only point out that they're conditioned to eat flesh and need it to "live" (heh heh). They especially like brains, so- yea. They'll eat those too.

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