After suffering through that third-trimester abortion of a baseball game, we might as well put on our rose-colored goggles and look for some positive information (besides the whole 8 game lead, of course). Allow me to play the role of The Propeganda Machine, and feed you some good news on this blue Sunday.
From what I gather by listening to WEEI, even the casual fans out there have heard of prized pitching prospect Clay Buchholz. Another highly-touted prospect, if not on Clay’s level, is young Michael Bowden. Both of those kids have garnered the majority of the hype in this town, as far as pitching prospects go.
If you haven’t heard yet, you’re hearing it now: there is yet another name to add to the ranks of top Red Sox prospects, another pitcher who has been tearing his way through the minor leagues of late:
Masterson, a monolithic figure at 6’6″, 250 lbs, was drafted in the second round last year out of San Diego State University, the alma mater of Marshall Faulk and Fred “Hunter” Dryer. His #1 weapon is his heavy sinker, delivered from a 3/4 arm-slot, touching 94 MPH, and inducing more ground balls than a bowling alley. Masterson was drafted as a reliever, but converted to a starter in 2007, and has had great success on the hill recently.
Justin was originally assigned to Lancaster of the California League at the beginning of the season. Since Lancaster is the gravitational equivalent of the planet Neptune, all pitchers there tend to look like Dave Eiland, while all hitters there tend to look like Barry Bonds. Masterson faired very well considering this atmosphere, yielding a 4.33 ERA in 17 starts, along with a 2/1 ground ball to fly ball ratio.
It was after his promotion to AA Portland that Masterson really began to get people’s attention.
In 4 starts in Portland, Masterson has pitched 26 innings, giving up only 10 hits, 5 walks, and an ERA of 1.04. He has struck out 32 hitters, and get this: all 32 strikeouts have been swinging.
Of course, this is a small sample, and this streak is unsustainable. Numbers aside, the scouts are abuzz over this kid, raving about his makeup, build, and command of a whip-like sinking fastball that hearkens back to the days of Derek Lowe. Keep an eye on this guy, as he could be seen in a MLB relief role at some point in the near future, and possibly a starting role in the next year or two.