Thursday, February 26

Lester Is Changing Things Up

It was great to see (and by see, I mean read about) Jonny Lester on the mound for the Sox today. He threw two solid innings against the Pirates (I know, it's hard not to look good against the always "rebuilding" Pirate teams), but it's got me thinking about Lester's ultimate ceiling. As a big young lefty, he has a natural advantage, but just how good can he become as he continues to mature? Are we talking Derek Lowe or real ace material here?

The 25 year-old spent the off season adding a few pounds of muscle in an intense fitness routine and also increased his confidence in a very important pitch for any hurler; a change up. Lester relies manly on a mid 90's fastball and his cutter as his out pitches, but developing a change up has been at the top of his to do list since last season ended. When asked about the development of his change up, Lester responded:“It’s going. it’s still a work in progress. Like I said, I threw some today and we’re just trying to pick counts and situations where it’s hopefully not going to hurt us to get some work in and get some feel and some reaction from hitters on it. that’s what Spring Training is for. You use it as a building block for the season but you also take your weaknesses and you try to focus on them and that’s one that this spring we’re really trying to focus on.”

Having command of a change up could be what puts Lester alongside a handful of the best pitchers in the game right now. It adds another dimension to his make up, one that hitters will have to respect while at the plate. Keeping hitters off-balance and uncomfortable in the box is something Pedro did better than anyone in his prime (especially when behind in the count). Discomfort in the batters box translates into greater confidence on the mound....and while I'm not ready to put Lester up there with Pedey, if he's able to garner command of an effective change up, it would go a long way in helping to establish him as the best lefty in the game for years to come (yes, I see you CC...how could I possibly miss you).

How can you not love, cheer, and wish the best for Jon Lester?....I mean the guy tooled on cancer for christ's sake. Anyways, just thinking about how much potential this pitching staff has, I can't help but wish to fast forward to April 6th at Fenway against the Rays....but I guess all good things come in due time....

5 comments:

Dale Sams said...

The Jon Lester jersey is the only Red Sox jersey I've ever bought. Cancer...World Series....no-hitter...Shutout in Yankee Stadium.

In his second playoff game against the Angels last year, I said :"If he walks off the mound again without giving up an earned run, I'm getting straight on Ebay and buying a jersey. 2 hours later I'm firing up the puter.

Soxin09' said...

You've got to love Lester. He's a beast, 19-6 record this year. I'm calling it now.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he really wants to get an extension done and to stay with the Sox for a long time, too. Great news.

D Vicino said...

Adam "um" Kilgore is pretty much running the same exact article in the globe today...he clearly was out of material, logged on to ITM last night, and stole the idea....kidding, but we did beat him to the punch.

Anyways, there has been a ton of talk around signing Lester to a long term deal this year. I'd love to see it. The Sox usually don't go over 5 years for pitchers, but locking him up for the next 4 seasons seems like a good possibility.

D Vicino said...

McAdam for the Herald has a similar article up as well.....unreal....they'll all be calling home runs "taters" soon too.

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