Apr 25, 2008
Cliff Lee now has 4 starts that have produced the following results:
Before we annoint him as a breakout candidate, let’s take a look at some of his career stats to see if he is a prefect ‘sell high’ player or a player that you need to get at all costs. 2007- 5-8, 6.29 ERA
2006- 14-11, 4.40
2005- 18-5, 3.79
This post is to lay out information, so you can make your own determination.
First, it must be noted that Lee is 30 years old. This helps to to know that he is not a young pitcher in the learning curve of a career.
Lee’s four wins have come against the Athletics (twice), the Twins, and the Royals. There is not a better schedule that he could have hoped for, and he has taken full advantage of this opportunity. Also, he has pitched all of his games in pitcher-friendly parks.
To Lee’s credit, he has dominated a team twice (the A’s), which points to the fact that adjustments were likely made, but to no avail to the hitters.
Although Lee had shown a three-year regression in his statline, it can be pointed out that three short years ago (2005), he was a stud with the 18-5, 3.79 ERA.
In 2006, his 14-11, 4.40 season could have either been a regression, or just dropoff from a career year.
Last year was an injury plagued season and can be easily dismissed if you believe that his numbers were due to his injuries.
This should give you a reference point to decide how you feel about Cliff Lee. Now, I will give my opinion:
Lee has been an excellent pitcher two of the last three years, so the fact that he is doing well is no surprise. He will face plenty of teams with loaded lineups that will hammer him on occasion. All things considered, I see Cliff Lee finishing about 16-10 with a 3.90 ERA, which is an excellent #2 SP.