In July 2012, the Boston Red Sox traded away, starting pitcher, Josh Beckett. This move paved the way for Jon Lester to become the team’s ace of the pitching staff.
Lester was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 June Amateur Draft. After spending four years in the Red Sox farm system, Lester made his MLB debut on June 10, 2006 at age 22. The Tacoma, Washington native has always played second fiddle to Beckett in the Red Sox pitching rotation, however the time for him to step up and become the Red Sox ace is now.
Lester’s best season came in 2010 when in 32 games, Lester posted a 19-9 record with a 3.25 ERA, 1.202 WHIP, 225 strike outs and two complete games over 208 innings. After another great season 2011, many people were predicting the starting pitcher would be in the running for the AL Cy Young award in 2012. However after finishing the season with a 9-14 record and a career worst 4.82 ERA, Lester was not even close to being considered the best pitcher in the American League.
With John Farrell back in a Red Sox uniform and Beckett on the west coast, the 29-year-old needs to step up and show that he can be the best pitcher in the Red Sox starting five. The lefty has the ability to be the top pitcher on the Red Sox, however he needs to get his mind around it and prove it.
This spring for the Red Sox, Lester has recorded two wins in five innings of work, striking out three and allowing only a single hit. Lester will not only need to prove he can perform on the mound, but will have to show he can lead the pitching staff in the dugout and clubhouse as well. Can Lester be the Red Sox ace this year and for years to come?
Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here.