2011 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Lester, Beckett and the Boston Red Sox

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Lester, Beckett and the Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox have one of the most solid rotations in baseball, both in terms of on-field quality and stability.  They have six major league-ready starters and, barring injury, not many of their prospects will see a start. 

Jon Lester is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball.  I’ve loved him since 2008, when I stupidly refused to trade Shawn Marcum for him, and made sure I drafted him in 2009 and 2010.  

I mean, what’s not to like? 

He’s improved every year, he strikes out a ton of hitters (more than a strikeout per inning in both 2009 and 2010), he wins (16, 15 and 19 wins over the past three years, he doesn’t get hurt (33, 32 and 32 starts the past three years) and he keeps his ERA and WHIP manageable and his BAA even better.  

He’s one of the first pitchers I’m taking this year—right in the same class as Halladay, Lee, Sabathia, etc.

John Lackey used to be one of my favorite pitchers in baseball.  I owned him for what felt like 10 straight years, including last year.  

But I can’t help but wonder if his best days are behind him.  

Yes, he pitching for the Red Sox probably means five extra wins per year, but considering he only won 14 last year, those wins are not enough to offset the fact that his ERA, WHIP, BAA and K/IP have all worsened since 2008.  

For a guy with a history of arm troubles and an age on the wrong side of 30 by a couple years, I say buyer beware.

Josh Beckett...

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