Boston Red Sox top 25-man roster in franchise history

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Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Jon Lester

Career Stats: 146 W, 3.44 ERA, 8.36 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 38.9 WAR
With Red Sox: 110 W, 3.64 ERA, 8.21 K/9, 3.13 BB/9, 28.1 WAR

Jon Lester is the best pitcher to come out of the Red Sox farm system in a long time. To put it in perspective how difficult it has been for this organization to groom elite pitchers, you have go all the way back to Clemens over 30 years ago to find another starting pitcher in the same class as Lester that came up through this system. Every other ace pitcher to take the mound for Boston since then was either signed as a free agent or traded for.

Lester has never been the most dominant pitcher in the league, having never finished higher than 4th place in Cy Young voting. What he has been is a consistent workhorse that has piled up 200+ innings in 8 of the last 9 years.

Aside from one brutal year in the forgettable Bobby Valentine season, Lester was a guy that could be counted on to pile up innings while posting an ERA that would hover around 3.50 every season. In the hitter-friendly AL East, that’s pretty impressive.

The most impressive part of Lester’s career has been what he has done in the postseason. He may not have any regular season hardware, but he does have a pair of championship rings from his time in Boston. The first one he earned by capping a sweep in Game 4 of the World Series, shutting out the Colorado Rockies over 5.2 innings. When the Red Sox won again in 2013, it was Lester winning twice in the series against the St. Louis Cardinals, giving up only a single run in 15.1 innings between his two outings. Lester would add a third ring to his collection in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs, helping to end a title drought that lasted over a century.

Lester’s best year in Boston came in 2014 in a contract year, which also coincided with the Red Sox struggles taking them out of the playoff race. He was shipped to the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline, ending his tenure with the only franchise he had ever known. The Red Sox made an effort to sign him last winter in free agency, but the shiny 2.46 ERA that he produced in his career year earned him a lucrative contract from the Cubs that Boston wasn’t willing to match.

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