Jon Lester was just named the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day starter once again at the ripe age of 35. There are natural concerns that Lester’s velocity is going to decrease because of his age, and we’re seeing the big lefty throwing between 88-90 mph in his first two spring starts. I share those concerns, which prompted me to look at his velocity over every start in the 2018 season in order to find the time at which his 2018 velocity was highest.
What we see in the below graph is that Lester was actually throwing around 90.5 mph early in the season between April and June, but he then ramped his velocity up to well over 91 mph for the rest of the season. So when the weather was cold, his fastball was slower. And when the weather warmed up, so did his velocity.
If Lester comes out of the gate this year throwing a little slower than you expect, keep in mind that it took the legendary southpaw two months to ease into his normal velocity range in 2018.