Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jon Lester Is Pretty Damn Awesome

This post on Joe Posnanski's blog caught my eye because I attempted (unsuccessfully) to acquire Ziegler for my fantasy team yesterday. Named after A's reliever Brad Ziegler, it's a good illustration of a new statistic in development.

Clay Buchholz may not be living up to his promise at the moment, but he seems to be the victim of extremely poor luck: his BABIP for 2008 is an astronomical .364, over 100 points higher than his 2007 total (which was far lower than the .300 that defines "average"). Statistics say there's a better pitcher in there somewhere; maybe he'll show up before Colon comes back and makes the point moot.

Jon Lester, on the other hand, seems to be a golden god - or so says Peter Bendix over at Beyond the Box Score. Bendix points out that Lester's problematic stats (ERA, K/9, and the oh-so-worrisome BB/9) have all improved - not only since 2007, but in the twelve starts since his no-hitter, which seems to be a statistical turning point. Bendix suggests Lester might be the best pitcher in the AL, which seems a little extreme until - to tie the two ends of this post together - we note anecdotally that Lester does seem to have become the Type B pitcher ("An extreme ground ball pitcher who keeps walks down") Posnanski talks about in his Ziegler post and, more importantly, that Lester's Ziegler number for his last thirteen starts (starting with the shutout) is 122.4, higher than list-leader Brandon Webb's 112.6. Seems like Bendix has a good point...