This list will not be comprised entirely of Phillies, but Cliff Lee owes his elite status to one of the most drastic but simple changes ever seen from a starting pitcher between seasons.
In 2007, Cliff Lee was booed off the mound of a particularly horrendous outing, sarcastically tipping his cap to the fans on his way out, and was sent to Triple-A that same night. At 28 years old, Lee had hit rock bottom.
Indians pitching coach Carl Willis visited Lee in the offseason and worked on basics, including a new, aggressive approach to pitching. Lee won the fifth rotation spot in 2008 and went on to win his first six starts on his way to a 22-3 season.
Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach said they had to begin planning balls to keep hitters honest because Lee was challenging them on every pitch, working his fastball on both sides of the plate and throwing his off-speed pitches in the zone.
Lee's 5.0 K/BB ratio was nearly double his previous career high, and since 2008, Lee's K/BB is 5.65. In 129 games (125 starts) between his debut and 2007, Lee had a 4.64 ERA, a 1.375 WHIP and a 6.7 K/9. In the four years since, his ERA is 2.83 with a 1.098 WHIP and a 7.7 K/9.