Friday, January 4, 2008
Lester's A Popular Guy
Most Red Sox fans probably know how high pitching coach John Farrell is on Jon Lester. Farrell is a strong advocate for keeping the young lefty. He's said that if the Red Sox keep Lester, he "will be counted on heavily once spring training opens."
But Farrell isn't the only one who has flattering things to say about Lester. The 23-year-old pitcher has also garnered praise from outside of the organization. Peter Gammons describes that "after the Cleveland series, the Indians front office, coaches, and player personnel people had a meeting and it was unanimously agreed that after Josh Beckett, the best pitcher on the Red Sox was Lester. That doesn't include Papelbon, different category"
It will be interesting to see what Lester can do next year. He hasn't been at full strength for the better part of the last two years. Peter Gammons cites the fact that Lester's velocity hasn't been normal for some time, and he's not the only one to point that out.
Over Lester's first two years in the Red Sox farm system, his fastball sat in the low 90's and topped out in the mid-90's. But by the time was called up to the Red Sox in 2006, his fastball was sitting in the high 80's and was topping out in the low 90's.
Lester was weak and losing weight. Until he was diagnosed with cancer months later, he didn't understand why. According to Lester, he still weighs himself routinely to assure himself that he isn't relapsing.