When you’ve got the best team in baseball, you figure the individual player performances will also be pretty special.
But, in a league with 30 teams, having player performances from a single team be so compelling as to win more than one monthly award honors is still pretty darn cool. Most teams go the whole year without a single monthly honor.
To date, the Cubs have already seen their players win Player of the Month honors in August (Kris Bryant), and Pitcher of the Month honors in April (Jake Arrieta), June (Jon Lester), and August (Kyle Hendricks). I’d argue that Ben Zobrist should have won Player of the Month honors for May, and Kyle Hendricks had a really strong argument for July. Four awards is nice, but it really could have been six.
Now, they’ve done it again, and Lester’s pulled it off for the second time, winning NL Pitcher of the Month honors for September:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 3, 2016
The fact that Lester’s final start of the year – an ugly one in Cincinnati – happened to take place in October certainly didn’t hurt him, but let’s not ignore how ridiculous he was in September: in addition to that 0.48 ERA, he had a 2.24 FIP and 3.18 xFIP, all five of his starts went at least 6.2 innings (while allowing no more than one earned run), and he walked four batters the entire month. FOUR!
The second monthly award for Lester puts a great end-cap on a great season, despite whatever disappointment some may feel about that final start, in which Lester was trying to win his 20th game of the season for the first time in his career.
It was an incredible year for Lester, his second with the Cubs, and even if it doesn’t end with Cy Young honors, there can be no question that he was among the best this year.