There is not a better time to acquire the stud pitcher. The ‘no wins’ schtick was fine for a while because he was still putting up strong numbers, but he has failed to post a quality start (6+ IP 3 ER or less) his last 4 times out. It’s not going to get any worse for the ace, so now is the time to pounce.
If anything, Lee has been a
better pitcher than he has been before. You read that right, better. Just go down the list of pitching skills and you do not see one sign of him regressing
LD% – career 19.8%. 2012 18.8%
GB% – career 39.6%, 2012 46.7%
K/9 – career 7.34, 2012 8.97
BB/9 – career 2.14, 2012 1.91
Velocity – career 90.6, 2012 91.5
All indications point toward him being the pitcher he has been since his resurgence with the Indians in 2008 (FIP 3.01, SIERA 3.11) and not the winless pitcher his owners have endured in 2012. He has been victim to a series of poor luck detailed below
BABIP – career .296, 2012 .333
LOB% – career 72.8% (already way below league average), 2012 70.2%
HR/FB – career 8.4%, 2012 10.8%
Historically, Cliff Lee has been a stronger 2nd half pitcher than 1st half, but this has been ridiculous. In 2011 he pitched 95 1/3 IP’s after the All Star break with 101 K’s, a 1.79 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP. Take advantage of owners that just can’t stand him anymore and watch him be the 2nd half ace he has proven to be in the past.