Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester – Hall of Fame pitcher?

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester has had a solid career, but is it one worthy of the Hall of Fame? With a couple more strong seasons, he has a chance.

Jon Lester has had quite the major league career. A five time All Star, Lester was a part of three World Series winning teams, winning in 2007 and 2013 with the Boston Red Sox, and being a key part of the 2016 Chicago Cubs who shed the mantle of Loveable Losers forever. Lester was named the MVP of the 2016 NLCS, threw a no hitter, and overcame cancer to become an ace.

As one would expect from that resume, Lester has put together a solid career statistically. Over his 14 years in the majors, he has posted a 190-108 record with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.264 WHiP. In his 2537.2 innings, he has struck out 2355 batters with 820 walks.

Lester is not the pitcher he once was. His 2019 campaign was a disappointment, as he posted a 13-10 record with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.497 WHiP, striking out 165 batters with 52 walks in 171. 2 innings. However, he led the NL with 205 hits allowed while his fastball velocity decreased to a career low 90.85 MPH.

At this point, Lester is one of the more decorated active pitchers in the game. He ranks fourth amongst active pitchers in wins, sixth in winning percentage and innings pitched, eighth in strikeouts, and ninth with a 45.2 bWAR. His statistical accomplishments, coupled with his excellent track record in the postseason, give him an impressive resume.

But is Lester a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher? At first blush, it is easy to answer in the negative. Only ten pitchers that were primarily starters in their career were inducted into the Hall with fewer than 200 wins. In most cases, there were extenuating circumstances for their low totals. Based on the Hall of Fame monitor and standards created by Jay Jaffe, falls just short as well.

However, let’s add a few more years to his numbers. Lester has indicated that he wants to pitch beyond 2020, and he is just 37 years old. It is possible that he can pitch for another three or four years and put up solid numbers, especially if he joins a contending team. If Lester can get close to 225 wins and add another title to his resume, he may have a Hall of Fame case after all.

Jon Lester – a Hall of Fame pitcher? If the Chicago Cubs hurler can remain reasonably solid for the next few years, he may end up in Cooperstown.