Would you like a guy with a K/9 of 8.3 and a groundball rate over 61%? I would too.
Justin Masterson is a guy that’s been around for a little while—but is just 25. His reputation has almost been hurt by the fact that he was on the Red Sox—there was a lot of hype for him but he never really panned out for them, so people wrote him off. I’ll tell you what: Justin Masterson is starting to pan out.
Masterson pitched a shutout against his former team tonight, and it wasn’t a fluke either. Masterson has been quietly pitching pretty well for the Indians this season. He’s got solid strikeout numbers and is effectively inducing the groundball—it just seems that a few too many of those ground balls are getting through: he has a .384 BABIP so far this season. Since his line drives are right around league average, it seems his groundballs are getting through and his fly balls are getting out (14.3% HR/FB ratio, four points higher than last year).
Other than the long ball, the only other problem Masterson has is walks, and there is no indicator they’re going down either. His BB/9 sits at 5.01. Not good. The walks make Masterson a bit of a high-risk pickup.
But aside from that Masterson really has been pitching fairly well this season, and since we should expect fewer home runs and seeing-eye ground balls, hopefully less of the walks will cost him.
If you’re in a 14-team league and he’s available, go get him. For the more mainstream audience he still may have value as well. By my count Masterson has a two-start week next against the Mets and the Pirates. I’ll tell you now that in my weekly 12-team league where I need a spot starter next week, I’ll be throwing a bid Masterson’s way.