Skip to main content

Young Guns Flipped

My first reaction was decidedly negative regarding the Sox' decision today to send Justin Masterson down to Pawtucket to get him bullpen-ready in exchange for Clay Buchholz. That's my initial reaction. Now, I'm going to try to unpackage it for good and bad.

Masterson really has been about as good as you can ask of a end-of-the-rotation slinger. He has gone six innings in all but one of his nince starts - in which he went five. In only one of those starts has he given up more hits than innings pitched. Here's the game log for his nine starts. He had one more start than Clay who was drastically less effective with only three out of eight starts getting through six - and he only had three starts last year so it's not as if he's quite a known commodity in the majors quite yet.

I do believe that Buchholz will be the better starter long term. He has more pitches and most of them are plus. When he's going, he can locate them all and keep any batter very off balance. He's a top flight prospect and ready to pitch in the majors now.

Yet, Masterson is pitching too damn well over a significant number of starts - almost a third of a season's normal 35 starts - to hand over to Rhode Island now right? I also am a firm believer that sinker ballers should be treated differently. A great sinker, somewhat like the knuckler, is not hit well by major league hitters even if they know it's coming. They get away with location mistakes, unlike pitchers like Clay with low 90s heat and good breaking stuff. If a sinkerballer has it, hitters can guess right all they want but they still will play pepper all day with the infielders. Masterson has an insane sinker. It comes from a crazy angle and drops and moves laterally viciously. I think that he can still be effective even if they figure him out somehow.

'Nough said. Decision made. Buchholz is back in the rotation. Masterson will be in the bullpen later this season. I can live with that. It's not a bad decision. But I'm shocked. They took my baby. I miss Justy and his sinking nastiness already. I feel cold...


Matt said…
Good post, Wally. Very convincing analysis.

Popular posts from this blog

JD Martinez and Red Sox Depth

The Sox have signed JD Martinez; so, that's good.  His track record, personal reports on work ethic and attitude (aka lessons learns from Panda mania), and the fact that he's seen most of his success in the American League point to this being as sure a success as you can have in free agency.  He is getting a hefty pay check while the Sox aren't locked down for 6, 7 or Hosmer years.

Taking as a given that Martinez will be an outstanding hitter in the middle of the lineup, this signing - along with the signing of Eduardo Nunez earlier in the weekend - gives this Red Sox offense the most depth they have had since the 2013 champions.  That team taught us that it makes good baseball sense to go a few players deep at each position if you can, and to not obsess with how you'll find at bats for everyone.  Here we go again with that approach.

The 2018 Red Sox are remarkably deep and flexible.  When someone gets hurt, the likelihood is that that player will be replaced in the l…

The 2018 Red Sox Biggest Liability: Infield Defense

This Red Sox team is stacked.  At the moment, the biggest concerns seems to be the Mookie Betts hasn't been hitting and the fifth starter is likely going to be the perfectly capable Brian Johnson or Hector Vazquez for the first month or so.  But this team does have one real problem with it - and another possible one I'll write about later.  The infield defense has the potential to be pretty bad.  Given that I'm usually the one seeing hope in dark Sox times, I figured I'd try to dampen everyone's spirits now that we're cloaked in the warm glow of J.D. Martinez in a Red Sox uniform.

Based on what new manager Alex Cora has said so far, the Red Sox most likely Opening Day infield will be Hanley Ramirez at first, Eduardo Nunez at second, Bogaerts at short, and Devers at third.  That's a group that has the potential to really hit, but they also all have big defensive question marks.  It's not great when Bogaerts is your best defensive infield starter.  For the…

Sox Season Preview

Starting strong isn't a necessity for making a championship run but it sure helps.  Unfortunately, these Sox will need some real luck to get off to a great start.  They're starting off the year without their #2 starter, starting their 3rd best catcher, lacking a platoon partner for either 1B or 3B, missing their two best set-up guys, and expecting All Star caliber play from a rookie.  That said, all these issues should resolve themselves by mid-June and even a bad Sox '17 team should be in fine position to make a second half run.  But Sox fans will likely be pulling out their hair for the first month or two.

Things do have a way of working themselves out with good teams.  Last year, the Sox started the year with a pronounced lack of home runs, their best pitcher was the last guy to make the rotation (Wright) and we had gone through 2 catchers and lost a live Panda.  Things turned around with the team ending up 7th in the AL in homers - and by far the most runs - the league…