Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Since 2008, Jon Lester has the ninth-best ERA (3.29) among starters who’ve logged 600 innings. Of the eight pitchers with a lower ERA during that time, only Tim Lincecum has a better strikeout rate (10.25) than Lester (8.72).
Further, only two pitchers among the group have more wins (Roy Halladay, 58; CC Sabathia, 57) than Lester (50).
In 2010, Lester flashed the second-best cutter in baseball (17.9 runs above average), and the 10th best changeup (10.3 runs above average). His contact rate was ninth-best in the majors (76.5 percent, MLB average 80.7 percent), emphasizing his nastiness.
Lester was especially effective against the A.L. East last season, going 12-2 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 10.08 K/9 in 97 1/3 innings.
The only red flags from last season were his home/road and pre/post All-Star splits. He was more effective on the road (2.88 ERA) than he was at home (3.67 ERA), and his first-half ERA (2.78) was much better than his second-half ERA (3.89). Oddly enough, these splits oppose his totals from 2008 and 2009, when he was more effective at home and after the break.
Also, Lester’s walk rate crept up into the mid-three’s last season, after settling in at 2.82 and 2.83 in the two years prior. Lester will have to cut back on his free passes if he’s going to ascend into the ranks of the elite pitchers.
Looking forward to 2011, there’s no reason to believe the 27-year-old southpaw won’t continue to produce as a top-10 starting pitcher. In fact, he’s the seventh ranked pitcher on our 2011 big board.
|2011 FBI Forecast||211||20||9.60||3.10||3.15||1.19|
The latest from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
Fantasy Baseball Insiders’ 2011 Big Board:
- Nos. 1-10: Is Pujols Still The Top Pick?
- Nos. 11-20: Where Do Votto, A-Rod and Halladay Fit In?
- Nos. 21-30: Hernandez, Lincecum or Wainwright?
- No. 31: Joe Mauer
- No. 32: Victor Martinez
- No. 33: Cliff Lee
- No. 34: Nelson Cruz
- No. 35: Jason Heyward
- No. 36: Justin Upton
- No. 37: Josh Johnson
- No. 38: Ian Kinsler
- No. 39: Andrew McCutchen
MLB Trades: Fantasy Impact:
- Frank Francisco Traded to the Blue Jays, Who Will Be The Team’s Closer?
- Mike Napoli Traded to the Texas Rangers: Fantasy Impact
- Vernon Wells Traded to the Los Angeles Angels: Fantasy Impact
- Adrian Beltre Traded to the Texas Rangers: Fantasy Impact
Previous articles from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
- The Sub-2.50 ERA Curse: Why Five Elite Starting Pitchers May Regress in 2011
- 2010 Batting Average on Balls in Play Leaders: What to Expect in 2011?
- 2011 Closer’s Corner: Papelbon, Cordero & Rivera Are the Only Reliable Options
Tags: Jon Lester