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The Next Cliff Lee

We tried to figure out the next Carlos Quentin, so it's only natural that we do the same for the other big surprise of '08, Cliff Lee.  I'll keep the criteria fairly general:

  • A lost 2008 season
  • Previous Major League success in at least one full season of work
  • Drafted outside of the top 240 in mixed leagues
  • Not too old

Candidates:

  • Fausto Carmona
  • Kelvim Escobar
  • Brad Penny
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Brian Bannister
  • Jeremy Bonderman
  • Rich Hill
  • Jon Garland
  • Chris Carpenter
  • Ian Snell  

I'd like to further narrow this by excluding those who were rocked in Spring Training.  However, Lee himself posted these Spring Training numbers in 2008: 17 hits and 8 ER in 8.6 innings. 

Just based on gut feel, stuff, and spring reports, I'm going to toss out Gorzelanny and Bannister.  They don't seem close.  Any of the others I could see breaking out as the Lee of 2009.  Escobar, Penny, and Carpenter seem the most likely.  Your thoughts?


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