Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson: The Next Big Names for the Boston Red Sox?

JB McCandlesCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2008

Jed Lowrie is one of many great players in the past four or five years to come out of the Boston farm system. Kevin Youkilis, Johnathon Papelbon, Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Bucholz, and now Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson.

Since Epstein has took over as general manager and the team changed ownership, the focus has been on the farm system. Theo Epstein came into Boston and ended the so-called curse in Boston. He stressed to people that a lot more of these would be coming. Sure enough, the Sox won it all again in 2007. 

Granted, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson are still unproven in this league, but for the time that they have spent with the team, they have put in huge contributions to adding to the team's success.

Jed Lowrie got the call when Julio Lugo went on the 15-day DL back on July 12. Lugo has since been moved to the 60-day DL.

Lowrie was a very successful player in college. He attended Stanford University and did what he does best: get on base. On-base percentage is becoming one of the most looked at statistics in baseball, in terms of scouting and drafting.

In his sophomore year at Stanford, Lowrie had an OBP of .505 and hit .399. Granted, it was college and it was metal bats, but Lowrie did what the Red Sox are now looking for in young prospects: He reached base and scored runs. 

Lowrie has also shown that he has a decent glove, and he is very versatile. Lowrie has seen time at shortstop, third base, and second base, and he has made only one error in 59 games. 

Though, even with all of his accolades, he still needs a lot of work. His main problem is his throwing accuracy, but he will be able to correct that over the offseason. He was originally going to be a second baseman, but he showed great improvements in his time in the minors.

He has above-average speed, but he won't blow past anyone anytime soon. He showed some great power in college, but it dropped off with the switch to wood bats in the majors, but those home runs have turned into doubles, and he will hit a lot of doubles in his time.

He hits for average from both sides and has great plate discipline, which is a huge attribute to have if you are going to play for the Red Sox.

At this point, it looks as if Lowrie has taken the starting shortstop job from Julio Lugo. Lowrie has already outdone many of Lugo's offensive and defensive statistics. Look for Lowrie to be the starting shortstop for the remainder of the season and for the next season. 

At this point, I think it is safe to say that Lowrie will end up around the lines of a Carlos Guillen. 

The next big name in Boston, next to Lowrie, could be Justin Masterson. Masterson, who came up through the system as a starter, has been converted to a reliever, due to the problems the Red Sox have been dealing with in the bullpen all year. 

Masterson was called up on July 20 as a starter, but he returned to AAA to become a reliever. He has made a huge impact on the rotation and in the bullpen. Masterson had been a reliever prior to being a starter. In 2006, he was converted to a starter.  

Masterson was able to breeze through the Sox's farm system in just five years, which is pretty respectable considering how long a lot of those players have spent traveling by bus. 

Masterson has a great pitcher's build: big and tall. Masterson throws from the three-fifth's arm slot and uses a swinging motion. He throws a sinker, slider, change-up, and a two-seam fastball. His sinker is his best pitch, and it has a heavy drop to it.

It can be thrown anywhere from 82 to 95 mph. He can catch a lot of hitters off balance with a slider in the low 80s.

Masterson is a groundball pitcher, which will help him get many double plays and get out of jams. Masterson throws his pitches with confidence and is a strong fielder with a solid deceptive pick-off move.

If he is to become a starter, he will need to improve his stamina. Masterson will also need to improve his ability to pitch out of the stretch, especially if he is to be a reliever. Masterson will either be a dominant set-up man or a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. 

Masterson has definitely earned his spot as a set-up man in the bullpen this year. He truly earned the spot when he was able to get Alex Rodriguez to ground into an inning-ending double play late in the game in a big spot.

Masterson may return to the rotation, but it all depends on what kind of moves the Red Sox make in the offseason.

It looks like Masterson will end up around the lines of a Derek Lowe.

So, will Lowrie and Masterson be the next big names in Boston? At this point, the fans love them and they have done their jobs better than expected, considering that they are both rookies this season.