Fantasy Quickie: Justin Masterson Is Your Man

RedSox ManiacAnalyst IAugust 25, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 30: Pitcher Justin Masterson #63 of the Boston Red Sox starts against the Tampa Bay Rays June 30, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

For most of you out there, the fantasy baseball regular season is coming to and end. You either are part of leagues that duke it out until the last game of the season, or your league separates the elite into playoff brackets to determine the baseball nerd of the year amongst your friends.

Well, if your team is having trouble winning pitching stats, or if you somehow still have Fransisco Liriano on your roster, perhaps I can suggest an under-the-radar pickup to give your team a boost.

And now I present to you:

Justin Masterson

(crowd cheers)

Wait a minute! This guy has a 4+ ERA, and has barely been a starter all year!

Hey, let me get my point across! What is this, a town meeting on health care?!?


Stint With Red Sox

Masterson's stats most of the year are irrelevant due to his lack of use during his tenure with the Red Sox. While "The Nation" was toying with Smoltz and Penny, Masterson was relegated to bullpen duty.

His relieving stats were mediocre, but it was also due to the depth of the Red Sox bullpen, and the fact that Masterson can be best utilized in long-relief. Because of these situations, Masterson barely pitched two times a week. He was on mound almost as much as you attended your college classes (zing!).

For most of his stint in Boston in 2009, he was pitching without much repetition, and it showed in some of his appearances. If you take away his June 30 stint against Baltimore, and his July 11th stint against Kansas City (which were his two worst appearances) and his ERA for 2009 is 3.44

As a starter, he has a 4.59 ERA, but you take out the Minnesota game where he was shelled last week, and the ERA comes to 3.74.

And this is all from a pitcher who hasn't had a regular routine in his entire major league career. This year is also following a 2008 campaign where as a starter:

54 Innings, 40 hits, 3.67 Earned Run Average

These meathead stats don't tell the whole story.

Justin Masterson's Stuff

If I could relate how good Masterson is and will be, I could only compare him to a non-wild version of Jeff Nelson, with a rubber arm to boot.

Although the Red Sox organization didn't perceive much beyond a No. 3 starter or a dominant reliever, when you watch this guy pitch, you know he can be the real deal.

He has plus pitches across the board, and throws them at multiple release angles (usually the highest being three-quarters). His fastball dances between 89-94. He has great command not only of the fastball and the different speeds, but can throw his fastballs for strikes on the inside corner.

He also has a very good slider, and combined with his sinking fastball, can make almost any hitter look absolutely silly. One of his cons is that he will get wild with this pitch and hang it from time to time, but he has already shown he can control this pitch and make it work to get strikeouts and ground balls.

These two pitches, along with his arm angles and multiple speeds, makes him seem to have seven-eight different pitches to run at a batter. Along with his seldom-used changeup, he has the stuff to become one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League.

If you happen to find Masterson on the waiver wire, you would be foolish not to pick him up. Expect him to get at least five more wins before the season is over, and expect him to have all very good starts before the cleats have to be put away.

For you Indians fans, who wept over the loss of Victor Martinez, wait. You will soon be blessed with an electric pitcher who has the stuff and the guile to propel your team back into AL Central contention. Just one word of advice: Keep the girls off of him, he's already taken. Hopefully taken into your mixed-league roster.