Lester’s 2012 season was one of his worst of his career. He posted an embarrassing 9-14 record and an even worse 4.82 ERA. Not exactly the numbers fantasy owners would expect from a two-time All-Star pitcher.
However, Lester has looked completely revitalized in 2013. The southpaw currently has a perfect 6-0 record and has pitched like one of the most efficient arms in the entire American League. He has a 2.72 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP and has limited his walks for the first time in his career.
Needles to say, he has been an amazing value pick, and the fantasy owners that were smart enough to peg him as a sleeper this season have been gushing over his comeback performance.
Ironically, Lester’s fastball has dipped significantly this year according to the always-useful site, FanGraphs. In 2009, he was throwing a heater that was averaging 93.5 MPH on the radar gun, however, this year that number has dropped down to 91.8 MPH.
The same thing can be said for his changeup. In 2009, his changeup was averaging 77.9 MPH, but this year it has dropped down to 75.1 MPH. This dip in velocity isn’t too concerning because he is getting older, but it is certainly something to monitor as the season moves forward.
Lester may not be the guaranteed fantasy ace he was a couple years ago, but he should still be a reliable second starter for the rest of the season. He has shown that his 2012 performance was a fluke and he is ready to get back to work for fantasy owners.