Friday, February 8, 2008

Sox Prospect: Jon Lester

Last night I had to go to a work social, which took place after our 2007 year in review meeting. It was on the way to this social(Bowling at the classy Sunnyside Bowlodrome, and drinks at Speros) that I turned on ESPN the radio and heard Mike Felger discussing Schillings injury with baseball god and official member of the Rootbeer and Bacon hall of fame Peter Gammons. It is not looking good, I have mixed emotions about this, Schilling has been good for us but he is also a fat, republican, blowhard who was a borderline 3rd starter last year and was probably going to be a waste of money this year. Out with the Old and in with the new.

With that I continue my series of Sox Prospects, with Jon Lester.

Name: Jon Lester
DOB: January 7,1984
Drafted: Second Round, 2002 Draft

Jon Lester played his high school ball in Tacoma, Washington where he was a three time team MVP, three time All-Area selection and was the Gatorade State Player of the year in 2000. The Sox drafted him in 2002 and gave him the highest signing bonus of anyone in the second round, 1,000,000 dollars.

It took Lester awhile to get out of Rookie/A Ball but he found his way out in 2005 when he joined the Portland Sea Dogs. It was in Portland that he started to make a name for himself, he went 11-6 with a league leading 2.61 ERA. He was named the Eastern League pitcher of the year, and the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the year.

In 2006 he moved on to Pawtucket where he went 3-4 before he was called up to the Red Sox. In the last half of 2006 he went 7-2 with the Sox and posted a 4.76 ERA. On August 27th, 2006 he was scratched from a start against the Oakland A's due to a sore back and was placed on the disabled list. It was believed that he was sore from an accident that had taken place earlier in the month. On August 31st, 2006 Red Sox nation found out the truth as he was found to have anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a treatable form of cancer.

On December 5, 2006 it was reported that there were no signs of the cancer and on July 23, 2007 Lester made his first appearance back with the Red Sox in Cleveland. After struggling through his first few starts, Lester proved to be Crucial in the Red Sox world series run and he even won the clinching game in Colorado.

Lester is a highly coveted prospect for the Sox he has been considered untouchable in any trade, several teams tried and get him from the Sox over the past 4 years. Texas wanted him in the proposed Arod deal, Florida wanted him in the Beckett deal, and Minnesota wanted him in the proposed Santana deal. Its easy to see why the Sox are so attached to him. He is a very athletic Lefty, he has a 2-seam fastball, a 4-seam fastball, changeup, and an excellent curve ball. His delivery is smooth and very similar to that of Andy Pettitte. The more experience he gets the better his control should be. He is obviously a very hard worker, as it only took him 4 months to go from Chemo to the pitchers mound again.

Projected ETA: He is here to stay

Projected Position: With Schilling's injury he is either the third or fourth starter this year, if he continues to develop and works on his control he could be the number 2 starter on the team behind Beckett.

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