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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...

Comments

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

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