JON LESTER or ANIBAL SANCHEZ
Last November the Marlins made Lester (left), a
21-year-old Double A lefty, their prime target in a deal that would send
15-game winner Josh Beckett to the Red Sox. After Boston balked, Florida agreed
to take Sanchez (right), a 21-year-old Double A righty, and three other minor
leaguers. Since debuting in the majors last month, Lester (5--0, 3.04 ERA at
week's end) and Sanchez (3--0, 3.41) have thrived, and both had one-hit wins
last week. Here's one NL executive's take: " Lester used to be a lot further
along because Sanchez struggled through injuries, but Sanchez looks strong
following Tommy John [surgery]. A confident kid who throws a mid-90s-mph
four-seamer and a deceptive changeup with great control, he's been better than
expected. [But] Lester, a tall, lefty strikeout pitcher, has excellent command
and a fastball with filthy movement. He reminds me of Andy Pettitte."
THE VERDICT: Lester.