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Masterson Up, Scheduled to Start 4/24


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#1 Hairps

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:05 PM

Portland Sea Dogs ace Justin Masterson is being called up to the Boston Red Sox and will start Thursday afternoon's game against the Angels, at Fenway Park.

http://pressherald.m...all/025942.html

#2 Williams Head Case

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:16 PM

And there we go. Welcome to the big leagues, Jedi.

#3 SoxScout


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:18 PM

12 ground outs sounds about right.

Will be interesting to see if he gets swings and misses.

#4 SoxFanPJ


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:28 PM

Corresponding roster move? Retro-active DL for Cora?

#5 SoxScout


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:33 PM

Corresponding roster move? Retro-active DL for Cora?

Cora is on the DL. Maybe Hansen. Maybe Timlin get the Hellenic Flu. Or gets released :( .

#6 Bowlerman9


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:34 PM

Corresponding roster move? Retro-active DL for Cora?


Should be Hanson optioned. Cora is already on the DL.

#7 SoxScout


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:43 PM

Craig Hansen will be optioned back to Pawtucket to make room for Masterson, who was scheduled to start Thursday for Portland.

http://blogs.courant...s-thursday.html

#8 RoDaddy

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:51 PM

Wow - surprised to hear this. He really hasn't pitched that much at AA let alone never playing AAA, and aside from a great 4 game start this year, was only so-so in Portland last year. But the ability is definitely there. I'd be even more surprised if he stays in Boston. But even there, I believe there's precedent for this type of pitcher in Bob Stanley, another great sinker baller, who I believe made the jump to the bigs all the way from A ball.

#9 Cuzittt


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:58 PM

Wow - surprised to hear this. He really hasn't pitched that much at AA let alone never playing AAA, and aside from a great 4 game start this year, was only so-so in Portland last year. But the ability is definitely there. I'd be even more surprised if he stays in Boston.


It's a one game start due to the flu which has hit Beckett and Daisuke. He will go back to Portland after the game. The Sox have often called up emergency starters from Portland/AA (if it makes sense).

#10 Lollardfish

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:01 PM

It's a one game start due to the flu which has hit Beckett and Daisuke. He will go back to Portland after the game. The Sox have often called up emergency starters from Portland/AA (if it makes sense).


Whose turn was it to pitch in Pawtucket? Anyone know?

#11 Cuzittt


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:08 PM

Whose turn was it to pitch in Pawtucket? Anyone know?


Charlie Zink. He would have needed to be placed on the 40-man roster. [Of course, so does Masterson...]

#12 templeUsox


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:49 PM

List of players from '06 Draft to play in majors:

1(1)- Luke Hochevar
1(3)- Evan Longoria
1(5)- Brandon Morrow
1(6)- Andrew Miller
1(10)- Tim Lincecum
1(21)- Ian Kennedy

1s(41)- Joba Chamberlain

2(71)- Justin Masterson

3(94)- Joe Smith

#13 Lollardfish

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:49 PM

Charlie Zink. He would have needed to be placed on the 40-man roster. [Of course, so does Masterson...]


Thanks.

Masterson makes a lot more sense than Zink, I'd say.

Do we know who is on the 40-man who can be bumped?

#14 amarshal2

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:50 PM

I can't wait to see how MLB hitters manage his sinker. The jump from AA to the majors is just enormous. If his stuff is on (which is the question with him) I'm confident he'll get grounders but I have no idea what kind of swing and misses he'll get. I'm also really curious to see what kind of progress he's made with his change-up.

Do we know who is on the 40-man who can be bumped?


They're at 37 according to SoxProspects.com (and MLB.com) with Schill on the 60 day DL.

Edited by amarshal2, 23 April 2008 - 09:53 PM.


#15 SoxScout


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:51 PM

We do not have 40 men on the 40-man.

#16 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:51 PM

Pretty sure they have a few open spots on the 40-man, especially after letting Thurston go.

Masterson may not be ready, but god dammit if I wish I was in Boston to cut work to see this one.

#17 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:53 PM

I only count 37 people on our 40 man roster.

#18 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:56 PM

I only count 37 people on our 40 man roster.

Same here. 38 + Schilling on the 60-day DL, so it's 37. (IIRC, guys on the 60-day don't count against the 40-man roster, right?)

#19 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:57 PM

Right.

Calling up Masterson makes sense. They have to option him down after this, but its not like they expect to worry about optioning him in 2011.

#20 Eric Van


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:58 PM

Charlie Zink. He would have needed to be placed on the 40-man roster. [Of course, so does Masterson...]

Chris Smith would also have had 4 days rest because of the recent off day, so they actually had three options.

#21 templeUsox


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 12:36 AM

List of players from '06 Draft to play in majors:

1(1)- Luke Hochevar
1(3)- Evan Longoria
1(5)- Brandon Morrow
1(6)- Andrew Miller
1(10)- Tim Lincecum
1(21)- Ian Kennedy

1s(33)- Emmanuel Burriss
1s(41)- Joba Chamberlain

2(71)- Justin Masterson

3(94)- Joe Smith

I'm going to update my list to add Emmanuel Burris, for the Giants. Don't ask me how or why he got promoted to the majors; the Giants act in a sphere of irrationality unique to themselves.

Edited by templeUsox, 24 April 2008 - 12:36 AM.


#22 YouLookAdopted

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:37 AM

List of players from '06 Draft to play in majors:

1(1)- Luke Hochevar
1(3)- Evan Longoria
1(5)- Brandon Morrow
1(6)- Andrew Miller
1(10)- Tim Lincecum
1(21)- Ian Kennedy

1s(41)- Joba Chamberlain

2(71)- Justin Masterson

3(94)- Joe Smith


You forgot Brian Bocock, whose career line of .241/.311/.334 in single A earned him a starting job with the Giants this season. Drafted in the 9th round (226).

#23 Trautwein's Degree


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 05:49 AM

I guess this thread wasn't so premature after all.

I think Cuzitt and others are right that he will get optioned back to Portland after the game. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they told him prior to the game that no matter how he does today that he'll be sent back. That way some of the pressure is off him.

He's going to be good. He's got the kind of body that you want in a pitcher. I hope that someone is able to post his pitch f/x data because his sinker has great movement on it.

Call me crazy, but I would not be surprised if he's a mainstay in the rotation come summer.

There's no prize for him being the best AA pitcher on the planet when the Red Sox rotation has issues of its own.

Edited by Trautwein's Degree, 24 April 2008 - 07:58 AM.


#24 jayhoz


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 07:10 AM

Help me with the rotation changes.<br><br>4/22 - <s>Beckett</s> - Pauley<br>4/23 - <s>Matsuzaka</s> - Lester on 3 days rest<br>4/24 - <s>Lester</s> - Masterson<br>4/25 - Wakefield on normal rest<br>4/26 - Buchholz on normal rest<br>4/27 - Beckett on 9 days rest<br>4/28 - Off<br>4/29 - Matsuzaka on 10 days rest<br>4/30 - Lester on 5 days rest<br><br>Is that right?

Edited by jayhoz, 24 April 2008 - 08:16 AM.


#25 Green Monster

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:14 AM

Help me with the rotation changes.<br><br>
4/22 - <s>Beckett</s> - Paulie<br>
4/23 - <s>Matsuzaka</s> - Lester on 3 days rest<br>
4/24 - <s>Lester</s> - Masterson<br>
4/25 - Wakefield on normal rest<br>
4/26 - Buchholz on normal rest<br>
4/27 - Beckett on 9 days rest<br>
4/28 - Off<br>
4/29 - Matsuzaka on 10 days rest<br>
4/30 - Lester on 5 days rest<br><br>

Is that right?


Unless there are more cases of the flu we don't know about yet. With tonights plane trip to Tampa there could be more guys "catching it". Since it is a short trip anyway, I hope they keep some of the sick guys back in Boston to rest and not get anyone else sick.

#26 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:58 AM

Call me crazy, but I would not be surprised if he's a mainstay in the rotation come summer.

Okay, you're crazy.

The scenario in which he ends up being a rotation "mainstay" would have to be pretty ugly - huge injury problems or ineffectiveness from our current starters, no return from Schilling, nothing from Colon, no ability to trade for somebody later in the season, etc... With guys like Papelbon, Lester and Buchholz, the Sox have shown no hurry to rush youngsters, so a situation that requires a lot of innings from Masterson in the majors would have to be dire.

Furthermore, the odds that he'd throw quality innings are not high. Look at what those starters drafted ahead of him who've made it to the majors have done so far in their big league careers:

1(1)- Luke Hochevar - 4.64 ERA
1(6)- Andrew Miller - 6.22 ERA
1(10)- Tim Lincecum - 3.67 ERA
1(21)- Ian Kennedy - 5.18 ERA

Other than Lincecum, not exactly rotation "mainstay" material. (Edit - thanks to amarshall2 for pointing out my error on Lincecum's ERA)

He's an exciting prospect and I'm looking forward to seeing him tonight, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Edited by Kevin Mortons Ghost, 24 April 2008 - 09:10 AM.


#27 Trautwein's Degree


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:11 AM

Okay, you're crazy.

The scenario in which he ends up being a rotation "mainstay" would have to be pretty ugly - huge injury problems or ineffectiveness from our current starters, no return from Schilling, nothing from Colon, no ability to trade for somebody later in the season, etc... With guys like Papelbon, Lester and Buchholz, the Sox have shown no hurry to rush youngsters, so a situation that requires a lot of innings from Masterson in the majors would have to be dire.


I disagree. I think all that he has to do is convince the front office that he is a better pitcher than Jon Lester is right now.

Look at Masterson's minor league numbers.

Masterson is 22. As a point of reference, Felix Hernandez is now 21. Josh Beckett made his major league debut at 21. For every Ian Kennedy there's a Tim Lincecum.

#28 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:19 AM

For every Ian Kennedy there's a Tim Lincecum.


Yeah, that's really not true.

#29 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:21 AM

I disagree. I think all that he has to do is convince the front office that he is a better pitcher than Jon Lester is right now.

Look at Masterson's minor league numbers.

And look at Lester's. In Portland in 2005, he had a 2.61 ERA with 163 Ks in 148 innings, and a 3-1 K/BB ratio. That's when we all started drooling about him.

Why are Masterson's 2008 Portland stats more predictive of what he'll do in the majors than Lester's 2005 Portland stats?

#30 Shelterdog


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:24 AM

And look at Lester's. In Portland in 2005, he had a 2.61 ERA with 163 Ks in 148 innings, and a 3-1 K/BB ratio. That's when we all started drooling about him.

Why are Masterson's 2008 Portland stats more predictive of what he'll do in the majors than Lester's 2005 Portland stats?


Because he hasn't had to take a year off due to cancer?

#31 RedOctober3829


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:24 AM

The Angels free-swinging lineup will help Masterson out a bit, but the most I expect out of him is 5 IP and less than 5 runs. I'm excited as hell about seeing him on the big stage, but we need to not expect a Johnny Cueto-type first start from him.

#32 amarshal2

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:26 AM

Because he hasn't had to take a year off due to cancer?


I was going to say because people get too "up" about what a prospect is going to do early in his career and then immediately get too "down" about his long term prospects. I've always felt like the "trick" to evaluating baseball players is to never get on that roller coaster.

I think the point about "hey, look at how Lester has struggled" is the right one. For all the talk about the quality of AA, it's significantly easier than AAA (in my unproven estimation) and light years easier than the American League. We have no idea how major league hitters are going to react to Masterson's sinker either today or over the long haul. It's possible we'll find out in short order that they can't touch it and he goes Cueto on us (albeit unlikely). What is more likely is that we learn Masterson needs to work on his consistency with his slider and change-up before he can be an average MLB starter (or better).

Edited by amarshal2, 24 April 2008 - 09:35 AM.


#33 Shelterdog


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:32 AM

I was going to say because people get too "up" about what a prospect is going to do early in his career and then immediately get too "down" about his long term prospects.


That's also completely true. Lester is going to be a major league starter for the next decade. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up pitching in some all star games. The fact that he's thowing some balls and has an ERA of about 5 isn't the end of the world.

#34 Trautwein's Degree


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:43 AM

Why are Masterson's 2008 Portland stats more predictive of what he'll do in the majors than Lester's 2005 Portland stats?


Here's why I like Masterson over Lester:

1. He throws hard (his sinker is in the mid 90's);

2. He's a sinkerballer. I love sinkerballers. It's nice to be able to keep the ball in the park. Look at how much trouble the teams with plate discipline (the Red Sox) have with guys like Wang;

3. At 6-6, 245 pounds, he's got the body to be a work horse;

4. Watch today, his ball has great movement;

5. He throws strikes (22ks to 5 walks this season).

I think Masterson can be a good major league pitcher right now. Whether or not it makes sense for him to have some time in Pawtucket is a different question.

#35 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:43 AM

I disagree. I think all that he has to do is convince the front office that he is a better pitcher than Jon Lester is right now.

Look at Masterson's minor league numbers.

Masterson is 22. As a point of reference, Felix Hernandez is now 21. Josh Beckett made his major league debut at 21. For every Ian Kennedy there's a Tim Lincecum.


That's not entirely true. He has to convince the front office he's a better pitcher than Jon Lester, Julian Tavarez and Bartolo Colon at the very least. Never mind the likes of Pauley, Zink, Alvarez, Hansack, Bowden, Kris Johnson, ect ect. And he has to convince them that he's better by enough that it's worth risking some of his development time by calling him up. His upside is arguably higher than anyone I just listed (and certainly higher than some), but this team is trying to win right now and replacing a struggling young pitcher (as you alluded to by mentioning Lester) with a rookie is risky.

If guys like Buchholz and Hughes are hitting bumps in the road, I don't think it's a stretch to imagine Masterson doing the same.

As for comparisons in age to Felix, Beckett and Lincecum, I don't think those are valid. Masterson has become one of the better pitching prospects in baseball, but he's not at the level any of those three hit before getting their call ups.

Edit: Let me just say I really do like Masterson, I just don't think it's as simple as "Is he better than Lester right now?"

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 24 April 2008 - 10:05 AM.


#36 amarshal2

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:03 AM

Here's why I like Masterson over Lester:

1. He throws hard (his sinker is in the mid 90's);


Of those pitches, his best is a phenomenal plus-sinker with an excellent heavy drop -- he can vary its speed from 84-94 mph, catching many hitters off balance.

SoxProspects.com

Strengths: Using a low three-quarters arm slot, Masterson unleashes a special sinker. With its low-90s velocity and heavy movement, batters feel like they're trying to hit a bowling ball.

BA (premium)

His sinker is more of a low 90's pitch when he starts. From what I've heard (in addition to what I just quoted) he'll often throw it in the 80's too.

Edited by amarshal2, 24 April 2008 - 10:05 AM.


#37 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:34 AM

That's also completely true. Lester is going to be a major league starter for the next decade. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up pitching in some all star games. The fact that he's thowing some balls and has an ERA of about 5 isn't the end of the world.


Lets get one disclaimer out of the way before I start. If you think Lester can improve on his minor league BB rate of 3.78 in the majors, I'm all ears, but I'm using that as his best-case scenario.

You can't dismiss what is a pretty serious problem, in that his control is spotty at best. Looking at pitchers will the following qualifiers; careers started 1978 and on, 30 or more career starts and at least 500 innings pitched, who had a BB rate of 3.7 or greater (using Lester's minor league rate of 3.78 as the measuring stick), I'm finding 130 pitchers that are hardly breathtaking. 123,610 2/3 innings pitched with a total ERA of 4.35. I'd be happy if he put up that sort of ERA over the next few years, but it doesn't take into account league and park factors, and the fact that if you flame out, you're less likely to get 2+ years of starts (i.e., 500 innings).

Also, looking at those tops in ERA, outside of Carlos Zambrano (who's at the top), you have a top 10 that largely consists of those who were shifted to the pen (6) in Scott Garrelts, Steve Bedrosian, Dave Righetti, Jason Isringhausen, Greg Harris, and Norm Charlton, 2 solid major leaguers that were injury wash-outs in Kerry Wood and Ramon Martinez. Floyd Youmans rounds out the top 10 as a combo injury/drug flameout.

The rest of the top 10 in games started (outside of the top 3 in wins) are Bobby Witt, Darryl Kile, Hideo Nomo, Ken Hill, Ramon Martinez, Chan Ho Park, and Shawn Estes. A really hit or miss group, hardly awe-inspiring.

Some reason for hope, maybe not so ironically, out of this group, those in the top three in wins (I know, I know, not the best measure of a SP) are Chuck Finley, Mark Langston and Al Leiter, all lefties. In regards to Langston, Lester drew comparisons to him when he was drafted:

http://www.mlb.com/n...0...sp&c_id=bos

Tall frame with long, loose arms. Reminds of former big league pitcher Mark Langston.

Leiter and Langston both had worse control than Lester in the minors, and neither came within 0.60K/9 of Lester's strikeout rate. Leiter is one of two pitchers since 1978 to make at least 100 starts with a BB rate of 4.3 or greater, and post an ERA below 4, the other being Kerry Wood. The average ERA for this group of pitchers is 4.63. Lester has a MLB BB rate of 4.76, and not surprisingly, an ERA of 4.81. Finley was a 22 year old when he signed with the Angels, and rocketed through the system, pitching only 61 minor league innings before making his major league debut. I suppose Chuck Finley may a best-case for Lester. Finley was a very solid, 5 time All Star starting pitcher.

For the record:

Lester is going to be a major league starter for the next decade. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up pitching in some all star games.


Can we assume that a decade of starts is 275 or more starts? The list of pitchers with at least 275 starts and a BB rate of greater than 3.7 shrinks down to 8, Finley, Langston, Witt, Leiter, Kile, Nomo, Hill and Martinez.

Control is something that can't be overlooked with a starter, as the ability to control the strikezone is everything, especially in today's game with a heightened awareness of the value of OBP.

Edited by mt8thsw9th, 24 April 2008 - 10:36 AM.


#38 Paul M


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:42 AM

He probably could be a good major league pitcher right now, but the Red Sox--rightly--would rather he get another 12-15 starts and possilby see if he can be a VERY good major-league starter. Clearly, they don't think he's ready for a full-time gig right now. Hansen dominated the minors in his short time and it's taken close to three years to get back. Even elite young starters have growing pains like Felix, Cain, Greinke...Christ, Josh Beckett was mediocre for most of his first year and Dice K struggled mightily at times and it took Halladay time too. In the American League, you see a lot more 4.50-5.50 ERAs from the young guys.

#39 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:46 AM

I guess that's the thing. Are the Sox (and their fans) willing to deal with Lester putting up a 5 ERA this year with the hopes that it helps him be a better pitcher, with potential payoff in the end? While realizing that maybe he never puts it together?

It's really all about the rest of the roster and the alternatives. How much better is a Colon likely to be? Does the experience given to Lester worth assuming lesser performance? For how long?

Ultimately, I'd probably give Lester 3-4 more starts before I thought about sending him down, but it's easier to be patient when the team is doing so well. He is still just 24 years old; and we're really seeing the same thing (even worse) with the Yankees in Hughes and Kennedy. Not everyone is Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez.

#40 RedOctober3829


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:50 AM

He probably could be a good major league pitcher right now, but the Red Sox--rightly--would rather he get another 12-15 starts and possilby see if he can be a VERY good major-league starter. Clearly, they don't think he's ready for a full-time gig right now. Hansen dominated the minors in his short time and it's taken close to three years to get back. Even elite young starters have growing pains like Felix, Cain, Greinke...Christ, Josh Beckett was mediocre for most of his first year and Dice K struggled mightily at times and it took Halladay time too. In the American League, you see a lot more 4.50-5.50 ERAs from the young guys.


The reason you see higher ERAs from young starters in the American League is because pitchers aren't used to every guy in the lineup grinding out ABs and working counts. In AA ball, the best hitters usually are the only players to have enough plate discipline to take borderline pitches while the majority of players tend to be free-swinging. Pitchers at that level are used to getting a ton of swings-and-misses on their out pitches and/or their breaking stuff. They come up to the majors and most pitchers' BB/9 increase and their K/9 decrease. That leads to more balls in play, more runners on base, and more chances to have runs scored. Young pitchers aren't used to having to be as precise and sometimes even perfect against an entire lineup. Only the most mentally tough young pitcher have comparable minors-to-majors success early in their careers no matter how good your stuff is. Every pitcher goes through growing pains.

Edited by RedOctober3829, 24 April 2008 - 11:27 AM.


#41 Shelterdog


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:18 AM

Lets get one disclaimer out of the way before I start. If you think Lester can improve on his minor league BB rate of 3.78 in the majors, I'm all ears, but I'm using that as his best-case scenario.


I agree that he needs to improve his walk rate, and I agree that if he doesn't, he probably won't have a great career- relatively few pitchers who have a BB rate of 3.7 or higher have very good major league careers.

Where we differ is that I fully expect his control (and his command) to improve. I haven't pulled numbers on this systematically, but certainly lots of pitchers improve their walk rates in the majors. A few examples of pitchers who improved their walk rates considerably are Bruce Hurst, who had a walk rate of 3.76 in the minors and 2.76 in the majors, Tom Glavine - 4.01 walk rate in the minors, 3.03 in the majors, Al Leiter: 5.46 in in the minors, 4.38 in the majors.

I'll bet - but don't have the time or talent to test it - that if you examined MLB who started more than 150 games, you'd find that their major league BB rates were lower than their minor leage BB rates, especially among players who, like Lester, came straight out of high school.

#42 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:35 AM

I guess that's the thing. Are the Sox (and their fans) willing to deal with Lester putting up a 5 ERA this year with the hopes that it helps him be a better pitcher, with potential payoff in the end? While realizing that maybe he never puts it together?

It's really all about the rest of the roster and the alternatives. How much better is a Colon likely to be? Does the experience given to Lester worth assuming lesser performance? For how long?

Ultimately, I'd probably give Lester 3-4 more starts before I thought about sending him down, but it's easier to be patient when the team is doing so well. He is still just 24 years old; and we're really seeing the same thing (even worse) with the Yankees in Hughes and Kennedy. Not everyone is Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez.


A 5 ERA out of your number 5 pitcher isn't that out of the ordinary, and its certainly not the kiss of death. Looking around the AL quickly, of the remaining 13 teams beyond the Red Sox, all but the Mariners are putting a pitcher with a 4.5+ career ERA out there and 5 of them are putting someone with a 5+ on the mound. Said differently, if Lester throws a 4.75-5.25 ERA this season, he'll be a pretty typical 5th starter in the league.

In fact, look no further than the Yankees to see another example of this. They have three pitchers who look like they might struggle to put up a 4.5 ERA on the season. Two of them are kids trying to get their footing at the major league level, much like Lester. Many teams in the AL have similar situations with their rotations. That's simply the state of pitching in baseball right now.

#43 Gabo1967

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:38 AM

I agree that he needs to improve his walk rate, and I agree that if he doesn't, he probably won't have a great career- relatively few pitchers who have a BB rate of 3.7 or higher have very good major league careers.

Where we differ is that I fully expect his control (and his command) to improve. I haven't pulled numbers on this systematically, but certainly lots of pitchers improve their walk rates in the majors. A few examples of pitchers who improved their walk rates considerably are Bruce Hurst, who had a walk rate of 3.76 in the minors and 2.76 in the majors, Tom Glavine - 4.01 walk rate in the minors, 3.03 in the majors, Al Leiter: 5.46 in in the minors, 4.38 in the majors.

I'll bet - but don't have the time or talent to test it - that if you examined MLB who started more than 150 games, you'd find that their major league BB rates were lower than their minor leage BB rates, especially among players who, like Lester, came straight out of high school.


The last paragraph is incorrect. In economics or in finance this is called survivorship bias or sample selection bias. The pitchers who used to have high BB rates and started 150+ games were able to start them precisely because they were able to lower their BB rates. The ones that were unable to do so just drop out of your sample.

#44 amarshal2

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 12:29 PM

Where we differ is that I fully expect his control (and his command) to improve. I haven't pulled numbers on this systematically, but certainly lots of pitchers improve their walk rates in the majors. A few examples of pitchers who improved their walk rates considerably are Bruce Hurst, who had a walk rate of 3.76 in the minors and 2.76 in the majors, Tom Glavine - 4.01 walk rate in the minors, 3.03 in the majors, Al Leiter: 5.46 in in the minors, 4.38 in the majors.


I think this is a good point. Comparing Lester's minor league numbers to major league numbers is a bit disingenuous. I checked out about 5 names quickly and Pedro's minor league walk rate was over 3.5 per 9, David Cone's was over 4.5 per 9 (with his MLB rate at 3.5), and Randy Johnson's (I know, I know) was well over 6 per 9! (Bedard and Pettitte always had decent to + command, apparently.) His stuff isn't half as good as the two first ballot HOF'ers but he's not that far behind a David Cone when he's right.

This is not to say that his control isn't a major concern. It absolutely is. But it seemed from mt8's post as though history suggests it is extremely unlikely that Lester can have a good career. Personally I'm more concerned with his K rate. The reason RJ and Pedro were able to improve their walk rates, other than improved command and more experience, is that they could throw pitches for strikes without fear of getting smacked around the park. If his K rate improves because he starts getting more swinging strikes in the zone then his walk rate should go down. He'll be able to put hitters away with less chance of long AB's and he'll have more trust in his stuff with (hopefully) less nibbling. This would be unrealistic if he didn't have a track record of getting swings and misses in the past and age on his side. I'm not suggesting that David Pauley is going to one day have a jump in stuff and become David Cone. Fortunately for Lester, he's got some good K rates in his past with room for reasonable improvement. Unfortunately, having 2 major concerns (k's, bb's) is a bad combo...I'm just hoping they are related.

Edited by amarshal2, 24 April 2008 - 12:31 PM.


#45 Shelterdog


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:35 PM

The last paragraph is incorrect. In economics or in finance this is called survivorship bias or sample selection bias. The pitchers who used to have high BB rates and started 150+ games were able to start them precisely because they were able to lower their BB rates. The ones that were unable to do so just drop out of your sample.


Fair point although it doesn't make my last point "incorrect."

What you'd really want to do is look at all pitchers who pitched at a level comparably to Lester at the minor league level and figure out how many went on to lower their BB rates in the majors.

Edited by Shelterdog, 24 April 2008 - 01:40 PM.


#46 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:09 PM

So, after 6 IP:
2 H, 1 ER (a homer), 4 BB, 4 K, 11 groundouts (1 DP), 3 flyouts. That's 95 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Gotta be happy with that.

Edited by CaptainLaddie, 24 April 2008 - 02:10 PM.


#47 Philip Jeff Frye


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:26 PM

So, after 6 IP:
2 H, 1 ER (a homer), 4 BB, 4 K, 11 groundouts (1 DP), 3 flyouts. That's 95 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Gotta be happy with that.

Ha! After trashing him (or at least his near-term prospects) this morning, I'm pretty happy with it.

I gotta do this more often. I think I wrote something similar about Buchholz last season right before he threw his no hitter. :unsure:

#48 templeUsox


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:27 PM

Ha! After trashing him (or at least his near-term prospects) this morning, I'm pretty happy with it.

I gotta do this more often. I think I wrote something similar about Buchholz last season right before he threw his no hitter. :unsure:

Maybe you just aren't very smart.

#49 findguapo

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 05:03 PM

Masterson has been optioned to Portland, Corey called up per Extra Bases:

http://www.boston.co...rson_to_po.html

#50 E5 Yaz


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Posted 24 April 2008 - 05:19 PM

I admittedly don't follow the minor leagues that well, but every mention I'd heard of Masterson was his eventual use as a 6th-7th inning guy in the bullpen. Has that concept been ditched; or, considering how uninspiring the current pen is, could Masterson be converted to a reliever for this season?