The Masterson supporters were out in full force after his Opening Day gem, but what they fail to acknowledge is that no one is disputing Masty’s ability to take the mound with legitimate ace-like stuff 10 to 15 times per year. But Masterson’s problem is that he’s also going to give you five to 10 miserable outings per year.
Since 2010, Masterson has produced 34 starts in which his game score fell below 40 (including today’s 26). How bad is that? Well, in those 34 games the Indians are 5-29. So they’re essentially games in which the pitcher’s performance prevents the team from competing.
Masterson’s 34 non-competitive outings represent 26.8 percent of his starts in that time span. Think about that… once every four times he takes the mounds the Indians have essentially no shot at winning the game.
In that same time span, only six pitchers have produced more starts with a game score under 40: Joe Saunders, Jeremy Guthrie, Rick Porcello, Barry Zito, Paul Maholm, and Bud Norris. Anyone see a $17M-per-year man in that group?
Here’s how a few other aces have fared in that time span:
Jon Lester – 24 (18.5%)
CC Sabathia – 22 (17.2%)
Gio Gonzalez – 19 (14.6)
Justin Verlander – 17 (12.6%)
Madison Bumgarner – 17 (14.7%)
David Price – 15 (12.0%)
Cliff Lee – 13 (10.6%)
Jered Weaver – 12 (9.8%)
Clayton Kershaw – 11 (8.3%)
I certainly hope today’s dud was an aberration for the 2014 version of Masterson, but until he proves that we don’t have to pencil him in for a loss every fourth start, I’m perfectly fine with the Indians decision to let him ask for $17M elsewhere.
Other notes and thoughts from the day…
- Lonnie Chisenhall is off to a great start, but I’m not ready to feel comfortable with him in the lineup just yet. Take a look at the Heat Map of the pitch location of his five hits this season. He’s taking advantage of mistakes—which is great—but he still needs to prove hit can be successful when challenged with more difficult pitches.
- Why is Blake Wood on the team? He had a 1.50 WHIP in spring training. He has a 1.46 WHIP in his major league career. And he had a 1.52 WHIP in the minors last year. They need someone in that bullpen spot who can eat up two or three innings, and a guy who can’t keep men off base isn’t fit for that role. I’d rather see Josh Tomlin in the rotation and Carlos Carrasco in Wood’s role.
- The right field platoon of David Murphy/Ryan Raburn was just 2-18 entering this game, but thanks to a few bloop hits Murphy got them back on track with a nice 4-5 day at the plate.