Jon Lester, Starting Pitcher, Chicago Cubs, #34
Date of Birth: 1/7/1984
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington
Jon Lester, starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2002. He pitched in the minor leagues from 2002 through most of 2007, finishing his minor league career with a 3.33 ERA and a 32-31 win-loss record. In 2006, he was diagnosed with cancer and successfully treated. That season, he pitched in 15 games for the Red Sox, finishing the season with a 7-2 record and a 4.76 ERA. In 2007, he pitched in 12 games for Boston.
Lester had a strong 2008 season with the Red Sox. He pitched 210.1 innings and had a 16-6 record with a career low ERA of 3.21. On May 19, 2008, he pitched a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.
In March, 2009, Lester signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension that included a sixth year (2014), $14 million club option. That season, he had a career high 225 strikeouts (to 64 walks) with a 3.41 ERA and a 15-8 record. The next season, he had career highs in wins with 19 and strikeouts with 225. In 2013, Lester pitched 213.1 innings and he had a 3.75 ERA with a 15-8 record.
On July 31, 2014, Lester was traded to the Oakland Athletics. He finished the 2014 season with a career high 219.2 innings pitched, a 16-11 record, 220 strikeouts to 48 walks, and a career low ERA of 2.46 in 21 games with the Red Sox and 11 games with the Athletics.
Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs in December, 2014. He finished the 2015 season with an 11-12 record, 207 strikeouts to 47 walks, and a 3.34 ERA in 205.0 innings in 32 games. He pitched 14.0 innings in 2 postseason games and he gave up 13 hits, including 3 home runs, and 7 runs. He had 14 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Lester had a strong second season with the Cubs in 2016, finishing the season with a career low ERA of 2.44. He had a career high 19 wins (to 5 losses) and 197 strikeouts to 52 walks in 202.2 innings in 32 games. He also pitched well in the postseason, earning a 2.02 ERA in 35.2 innings in 6 games. He gave up 27 hits and 9 runs.
Lester had a 4.33 ERA in 32 games with the Cubs in 2017. He finished the season with 13 wins and 8 losses and 180 strikeouts to 60 walks in 180.2 innings. In the postseason, he pitched 14.1 innings in 3 games and he gave up 6 hits, including a home run, and 3 runs.
Statistics for Lester in nine full seasons (2008-2017) in the major leagues include:
- 10 seasons with over 30 games, with a high of 33 in 2008, 2012, 2013
- 8 seasons with over 200 innings pitched, with a high of 219.2 in 2014
- 10 seasons with over 150 strikeouts, with a high of 225 in 2009 and 2010
Career pitching statistics for Lester through 2017 include:
- 349 games played
- 2,184.1 innings pitched
- 159-92 win-loss record
- 2,041 strikeouts to 704 walks
- 3.51 ERA
Lester has a charity wine, CabernAce. Proceeds from the wine go to the Hutchison Cancer Research Center. More information can be found at charitywines.com.
In 2006, Lester was diagnosed with and successfully treated for cancer.
Lester married his wife Farrah in January, 2009. They have two children.