Tribute to 1993 Kraft - Cliff Lee
Cleveland's surprise ace in 2008. Will he be an elite pitcher again in 2009, or just Dave Bush with a Cy Young Award? I'm banking on the former. But I believe I am in the minority here.
My main hope? K/BB ratio. Cliff Lee had a K/BB of 5.0 last year, with a K/9 rate of 6.9
Since 2000, here are the pitchers who have put up a similar season (4.7 K/BB or greater with at least 6.5 K/9):
Curt Schilling (x4)
Johan Santana (x2)
Randy Johnson (x2)
Mike Mussina (x2)
Pedro Martinez (x2)
Pretty much a who's who of great pitchers over the last eight seasons.
Maddux in particular is an interesting comp. During his four Cy Young seasons (1992-1995) he averaged:
By comparison, Cliff Lee just put up
Now granted, we know HR/9 is deceiving, because we expect Lee to regress some in this department. Lee's GB/FB rate last year was 1.3 last year. Maddux averaged 1.6 during his four year reign. So he's got the edge there.
Still...isn't it a little big intriguing? Don't you want to believe, just kind of, that he can do it again?
The picture on the Kraft tribute card was from Opening Day 2009 in Texas.