Masterson of his own domain, Justin could prove to be a profitable pitcher this season. I wanted to draft him in the mock draft I did earlier today, but someone nabbed him (without my permission). In an Auction Draft, I may have made him pay for that move. According to MockDraftCentral, Justin Masterson doesn’t even get drafted inside the top 105 SP. I have him ranked 67th in my SP Ranks, near Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and Holland, so he doesn’t have to be drafted in standard leagues. I play deeper leagues tho, so…
What do I like about Justin Masterson? An above average K/9 (career 7.73 k/9) and the 1.81 GB/FB are nice. All those Strike Outs and Ground Balls (53.8%) help him get out of jams (LOB%) and limit HR damage. Masterson’s Fastball clocked in at 92.3 MPH compared to 89.5 MPH in 2008, thats a big jump. His slider gained 3.1 MPH, averaging 84.2 MPH last season.
What do I dislike about Justin Masterson? He only throws two pitches, Lefties kill him and his Walk Rate isn’t pretty. He throws a bad Change Up (-4.5 runs below avg) 3% of the time and his arm slot helps Left Handed Batters pick up the ball. Masterson sports a 1.73 WHIP vs LHB (1.03 vs RHB). He has walked 4.14 batters per nine in his two short seasons. This number got worse when he pitched for Cleveland last year (5.63 BB/9 in 10 Starts). He did walk 3.31 batters per nine in 6 Starts for Boston tho.
What’s the Verdict? He’s a sleeper, he might even be a Million Dollar Sleeper. He’s cheap and can be tossed aside if he doesn’t perform. He was improving his BB/9 until the Victor Martinez trade and even tho his BB/9 didn’t improve on the surface level, his Zone% and F-Strike% did get better. He’s young and has looked pretty good in Spring Training (3.1 IP, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP) so far. He’s got the Strike Outs, he’s got the Ground Balls; he just needs to trim the Walk Rate a little and make an adjustment or add a pitch for Lefties and he’s a bonafide top 40 pitcher.
Million Dollar Projection: 180 IP, 12 Wins, 159 K, 1.36 WHIP, 4.15 ERA
Justin Masterson Scouting Report
Big righty with an ideal pitcher’s build. Dominated the Cape Cod League in 2005. Masterson has a three-fifths arm angle with a slinging-type motion. His arsenal includes a sinker, a slider, and a changeup. Of those pitches, his best is a phenomenal plus-sinker with an excellent heavy drop — he can vary its speed from 84-94 mph, catching many hitters off balance. Also mixes in a very good slider that sits in the low 80s, and an improving 77-81 mph four-seam circle change. Uses his sinker predominantly as his out-pitch, but also can make use of his secondary pitches to get out of jams. Could stand to mix in his changeup a bit more. His mix of pitches results in a high groundball-to-flyball ratio, resulting in a lot of double plays. Very good command of the zone. Prepares well for every game and pitches with confidence on the mound. Good fielder with a quick and deceptive pick-off move. Strong character, Masterson is one of the most likable persons and teammates going. Converted to a starter in 2007 after coming out of the pen for Lowell in 2006, may still project as a reliever at this point depending on how well his changeup progresses. Needs to work on keeping his delivery consistent deep into games – he’s struggled a bit the third time through lineups. Moved to the bullpen in mid-2008. If he stays in the pen, Masterson will need to keep the walks down and improve his ability to pitch out of the stretch. Ultimately, his ceiling is a #3 starter or a dominant set-up man.