Saturday, April 3, 2010

Is Justin Masterson about to Break Out?

By the title of the post, I'm guessing you already know my answer to that question is, 'yes.' But as always, it's the why that's important.

With an astounding career ground ball rate of 53.8% Masterson has always been a ground ball machine, but beneath the surface there has always been more. Last year he posted a solid 8.28 strikeout rate. The one thing holding him back has been command. For the past two seasons Masterson has struggled to throw enough strikes, walking more than four batters per nine innings.

I'm not positive that he's going to cut down on that rate significantly, but I am expecting him to post a mid 3's walk rate with a strikeout rate over nine, and continue to burn worms at a rate alarming enough PETA should take notice.

Though his ERA might not show it, Masterson has been spectacular this spring , posting an FIP line of 16IP / 1HR / 4BB / 22K with his typically incredible ground ball rates. If he and rotation-mate Fausto Carmona can locate their sinkers, the Indians have a chance to have a pair of ground ball inducing starters that could top most rotations. Seriously.

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