Saturday, September 18, 2010

Justin Masterson Making His Final Appearance Of 2010?

The Indians have stated that they'd like to keep Justin Masterson under 180 innings this year. Initially they had implemented their plan to move him to the bullpen a week ago, but after an abbreviated start by Mitch Talbot, they were forced to put Masterson back into the rotation. Tonight he'll take the mound with 173 innings already on the arm, and the Indians are sticking by their desire to limit his innings in a season that has seen him throw 50 more than last year.

Should Masterson throw the seven innings necessary, he'll likely be done for the season. Or, if he doesn't they may send him to the bullpen. That seems like an unnecessary step to me, but it shouldn't make a huge difference one way or another.

Masterson is an intriguing pitcher who has the peripherals to suggest Major league success: a solid strikeout rate (though that took a dip this year), and a very good ground ball rate. He does need to improve his control however, and if he can't he might be a better fit in the bullpen than he is in the rotation. That said, he's posted xFIP marks in the low fours the past two seasons and one way or another, the Indians should give Masterson every opportunity to stick in the rotation.

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