Chicago Cubs: Top 5 team MVP candidates

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Chicago Cubs Jon Lester
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No. 4: Jon Lester

In his age-34 season, Jon Lester is still leading the Cubs’ rotation.

With Darvish’s season ending with an injury, Chatwood’s abysmal showing, and Jose Quintana‘s inconsistencies, the Cubs needed someone to step up. Lester has done just that.

He hasn’t been the team’s best starter this year, but outside of a rough seven-start stretch, he’s been the most consistent.

While the pitching rotation collectively stumbled out of the gate, Lester was the one pitcher who looked like himself, pitching to a 12-2 record and 2.58 ERA in the first half of the season.

Also. Cole Hamels has earned a spot on the 2019 Cubs. light

Lester is getting older and his best days are behind him. His peripheral numbers on the season don’t look great; his K-BB% is the worst it’s been since 2012 and his 4.40 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching – a statistic on the same scale as ERA that only takes into account walks, strikeouts, home runs, and hit by pitches – outcomes that do not involve the defense) is his worst mark since his abbreviated 2007 season, yet his traditional numbers continue to hold up well.

Sporting an ERA of 3.43 in 175.2 innings pitched, Lester has consistently provided quality outings throughout the 2018 season. He’s served as a stabilizer in a rocky rotation that couldn’t find it’s stride until the season was over halfway over.

He’s no longer an elite starter, but Lester played an integral role in the Cubs’ 2018 campaign.