Well, I'm not going to start the age old 'it's impossible to be a better pitcher when you're giving up over a run more a game' argument, but late career BABIP jumps are usually not a good thing for pitchers. It is possible to have a year long slump in BABIP numbers but last year Lester's cut fastball was not nearly as lively and that is his number one tool to get weak contact which results in good BABIP. I think it was more than luck, and I do not think he was 'better' in '19 then '18.Jon Lester was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA in 181 innings in 2018.
He was 13-10 with a 4.46 ERA in 171 innings in 2019.
Great year followed below average year, right?
From 18 to 19 his FIP went down. His HR/9 ticked up only slightly despite HRs being up drastically MLB-wide. His BB/9 went down and his K/9 went up. His drop in results was entirely explained by his hits/9 jumping to a career high 10.7.
And that number was entirely explained by his BABIP jumping from .294 in 2018 (his career is .302 and MLB average is .299) to a career high .350! in 2019.
He was a better pitcher in 2019 than in 2018. He suffered some combination of bad luck or poor defensive play behind him.
Full disclosure - I hate the Cubs. But Rossy has them playing so much better than I would have thought. Going into the first crosstown I thought my White Sox would be roaring, and instead we're limping in and the Cubs are playing well. Would have been an awesome series with human beings in the stands.I know we're only 14 games in, but I really like how Rossy has lead the way in creating a fun/competitive atmosphere.