Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Love Letters from Pronk is a regular series where Pronk appreciates and expresses his love for a particular person. Sometimes it is sweet, sometimes it is weird. Here we go again....
Dear Jon Lester,
You have been a beast for the Chicago Cubs. Thank you for choosing them in free agency all those years ago. Thank you for not going the route of other big name expensive free agent pitchers and falling apart once you got your fat deal. You have been great for the Cubbies. A pillar of success.
You have actually improved with age, and in your time with the Cubs. In Boston, your W-L% was .636. With Chicago, you've actually improved to .643. Your ERA with Boston was 3.64. With the Cubs it's 3.54. You've also slightly increased your walk rate, strikeout rate and WHIP rates slightly with Chicago. All this despite being on the wrong side of 30. It's wonderful.
You are an under-appreciated old school pitcher. Your 190-108 record speaks volumes, even though all of baseball fandom heavily discounts the pitcher win these days. You may not be spectacular or dominate, but at the end of the day, you win games. That's the name of the game. Who is 4th on the career active list of wins? Currently you. Only behind Sabathia, Verlander and Grienke. You'll get to 200 wins for your career, likely in 2020. The only other pitchers with a realistic shot at that right now are Kershaw and Scherzer.
Your old school bulldog mentality is undervalued by many, but not by me. Your fire is inspirational. You find ways to win, whether it's a 1-0 pitchers duel or a wind blowing out at Wrigley kind of day. No matter the situation, you find a way to stay in the game. When it comes to a big game and you just need a win, BDJ is the name you want to call.
People rag on you because you don't like throwing to first. But despite that, you still are able to partner up with catchers and disrupt the running game. Changing delivery, being quick to the plate, you make it work. Your CS% is 10% worse than league average, but it's hardly the Achilles heel that twitter bings bongs make it out to be.
Finally, I appreciate all your work for NVRQT. Not only do you raise a lot of money for those in need, but you use your stature to bring awareness as well. In your position, you have the ability to be a trendsetter for others. After undergoing cancer hardships yourself, you were there for Anthony RIzzo in his time of need. That inspired him in part to start his own charity.
You've been a wonderful part of this Cubs team. I hope it lasts many more years.
If you'd ever like to go do something outdoors, I'd love to partner up. I'm not a huge hunter, but I am an avid kayaker and camper.