Justin Masterson

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Justin Masterson
Justin Masterson Cleveland.jpg
Masterson with the Cleveland Indians
St. Louis Cardinals – No. 63
Starting pitcher
Born: (1985-03-22) March 22, 1985 (age 29)
Kingston, Jamaica
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 24, 2008 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
(through August 24, 2014)
Win–loss record 59–71
Earned run average 4.23
Strikeouts 949
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Justin Daniel Masterson (born March 22, 1985) is a Jamaican-born American professional baseball starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round of the 2006 amateur draft from San Diego State University, he made his MLB debut two years later. Masterson has also played for the Cleveland Indians. Known for primarily throwing a sinking fastball, the right-hander stands 6' 6" (78 inches (200 cm)) tall, and weighs 250 pounds (110 kg).

A former All-Star selection, Masterson placed in the top-ten in the American League multiple categories in 2013, including wins, strikeouts, complete games, hits per nine innings pitched, and strikeouts per nine innings pitched. He was the first Red Sox pitcher since the Fenway Park's 1912 opening to make his first four consecutive starts there and not lose any of them.[1] He is signed through the 2014 season, currently making him eligible for free agency after the season.

Early life[edit]

Masterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where his father served as Dean of Students at the Jamaica Theological Seminary.[2] A few years later, Masterson moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Beavercreek High School in Beavercreek, Ohio where he first played baseball as a catcher, pitcher, and first baseman. His mother works as a teacher at Parkwood Elementary School in Beavercreek, Ohio, and his father is a pastor.

Masterson attended Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, where he played as a starting pitcher. While at Bethel, he hit 10 home runs (HR) during his sophomore year. He then attended San Diego State University. As a relief pitcher, in the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2005, saving 10 games for Wareham while posting a 1.15 earned run average (ERA).

Professional career (2006–present)[edit]

Boston Red Sox (2006–09)[edit]

Masterson during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox in 2008.

Baseball America rated Masterson as the 64th-best overall prospect for their 2006 Major League Baseball Draft projections.[3] The Boston Red Sox selected him in the second round. Dan Madsen signed him. Masterson began as both a starter and reliever in his minor league career for the Lowell Spinners. In 2007, his second season, the club promoted him from the Class A Lancaster JetHawks to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. His twelve wins that season ranked second among all Red Sox minor leaguers.[4]

After joining the Sea Dogs, Masterson said, "I've had the confidence to be a great pitcher all along. I went to a smaller school and really proved that I had the ability to pitch, and whatever route I took to get me where I am I'm not worried about it."[5]

In 2006, Masterson was named to Baseball America's short season all-star team.[6][7][8] Masterson converted to starting pitching in early 2007, after a stint as a relief pitcher for Short Season Lowell in 2006.

The Red Sox invited Masterson to spring training before the 2008 season.[9] On April 24, he made his Major League debut against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in an emergency call-up start. He pitched six full innings (IP) and allowed one run. The Red Sox immediately sent him back to Portland following the game. The next month, on May 20, he made his second appearance, pitching 6 13 innings, allowing three hits and one run with three walks and five strikeouts and picking up his first win in the Majors.

After five starts with the major-league club, it was announced that he would stay in the majors through Daisuke Matsuzaka's return from the disabled list (DL) due to Bartolo Colón's back injury.[10] On July 7, 2008, Masterson was sent back to the Pawtucket Red Sox, a move manager Terry Francona stated was made to transition Masterson from a starter to a relief pitcher.[11] Masterson was recalled on July 20 due to an injury to David Aardsma[12] In his first relief appearance, he was solid against the Seattle Mariners, shutting down the hitters and working 2 23 scoreless innings at Safeco Field in Seattle.

Masterson picked up the first postseason win of his career in Game Five of the 2008 American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the Tampa Bay Rays, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Red Sox' 8–7 victory.[13]

In 2009, Masterson began the season in the bullpen while also starting six games before being traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Cleveland Indians (2009–14)[edit]

Masterson pitching for the Indians in 2009

On July 31, 2009, Masterson was traded along with minor league prospects Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price to the Cleveland Indians for Victor Martinez.[14]

Upon arriving to Cleveland, Masterson was inserted into the Indians rotation. He started 10 games, struggling to a record of 1-7.

Masterson pitched his first professional complete game shutout on June 9, 2010, against the Red Sox, his former team, pitching a two-hitter. In his first full season as a starter, Masterson once again struggled for the Indians, pitching to a record of 6-13 in 29 starts.

Upon the conclusion of the 2011 season, a season in which Masterson went 12–10 with a 3.21 ERA and 216 IP, he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. The surgery was required after enduring an injury in 2007 as a member of the Red Sox.[15]

Masterson finished the season with a 12–10 record, having career bests in ERA (3.21), innings pitched (216) and home runs allowed (11).

On April 5, 2012, the Indians made Masterson the Opening Day starter for the first time in his career. The game was against the Toronto Blue Jays in what proved to be the longest Opening Day game in major league history, a 7–4 loss in 16 innings. He completed eight innings, giving up two hits and one run while striking out 10, and earned a no-decision.[16] However, he regressed in his third season with the Indians, finishing 11-15 with a career-worst 4.93 ERA in 34 starts. The Indians hired Francona to be their manager the following October, reuniting the pitcher with his former manager.[17]

For the 2013 season, the Indians again named Masterson the Opening Day starting pitcher.[18] He defeated Blue Jays' reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R. A. Dickey, acquired in the prior off-season from the New York Mets. In his next start, his second win came against the reigning American League Cy Young winner, David Price of the Rays. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Masterson became just the third player in MLB history to defeat both reigning Cy Young winners in the same season – and the first to do so in his first two starts of the season.[19]

With his sixth season about to begin and no contract, Masterson was eligible to become a free agent for the first time in his career after the season. He was also arbitration-eligible. To avoid arbitration, he and the Indians agreed to a one-year, $9.7 million contract in February, 2014, for the 2014 season.[20] The two parties also began talks for a contract extension beyond 2014. However, the next month, discussions were ended until after the season. Masterson had offered the club extensions for $17 million per year in separate offers of two and three years, with option years, but that was more than the Indians were willing to pay. A pitcher with similar career achievements, Homer Bailey, had signed an extension for more years with the Cincinnati Reds at $17.5 million per year.[21]

Tapped for his third consecutive Opening Day start, Masterson pitched seven scoreless innings but did not qualify for a decision in a 2–0 extra innings victory against the Oakland Athletics.[22] On June 2, he completed an immaculate inning against the Red Sox, striking out Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore, and Stephen Drew in order on nine pitches.[23]

St. Louis Cardinals (2014–present)[edit]

On July 30, 2014, the Indians traded Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder James Ramsey.[24][25] To honor their former teammate, all Indians players donned Masterson's high-sock style for the next game after his trade against the Mariners.[26] Masterson had been on the DL due to a knee injury for nearly a month when he was traded. The Cardinals activated him from the DL on August 1. He won his Cardinals debut against the Milwauee Brewers the next day, a 9–7 victory, in spite of allowing five runs, seven hits and three walks in six IP. While batting, he collected his first hit and run scored of the season.[27]

Pitching profile[edit]

Masterson pitches at a low three-quarter arm delivery with a sliding motion, which some compare to Dennis Eckersley's delivery. His pitching arsenal includes a fastball that reaches 97 miles per hour (156 km/h), a sinker, a slider, and an occasional change-up. It has been claimed that his best pitch is his plus-sinker with a heavy drop.[28]

Masterson throws a variety of fastballs that vary in speed and break, with the speeds reaching between from the upper 80s to the mid 90s. The speed of his slider is in the low 80s, and his change-up ranges from 77–81 miles per hour (124–130 km/h). He can vary his sinker at speeds of 84–96 miles per hour (135–154 km/h), sometimes catching batters off balance.

Personal life[edit]

Masterson married Meryl Ham on November 3, 2007.[29] Masterson is a Christian and often speaks of the importance of God in his life.[30] He spoke at the Pentagon's weekly prayer breakfast in June 2009.[31]

Philanthropy[edit]

Justin and Meryl are philanthropists. They founded a non-profit, Fortress Foundation in 2013 with the help of business partner Matt Zappasodi, and Cullinane Law.

November 2013: Feed their future campaign with Mark Zimmerman from Moody Radio Cleveland and Bright Hope in Nairobi, Kenya.

April 2013: Partnered with Bright Hope.[32]

February 2013: Partnered with Not For Sale Team.[33]

2008: Partnered with One Child Matters, Baseball project in Dominican Republic

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holmes, Baxter (June 9, 2008). "Fun in games for Masterson". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Profile: #21 Justin Masterson". San Diego State University. Retrieved April 17, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 Prospects: No. 61-80". Retrieved April 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ MLB "Second place among all Red Sox minors.". mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved June 1, 2008. 
  5. ^ The Daily Aztec
  6. ^ "BaseballAmerica.com: Minors: 2006 Minor League All-Stars". Retrieved April 14, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Justin Masterson Statistics — The Baseball Cube". Retrieved April 14, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Minor League Baseball: Stats: Player". Retrieved April 14, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Red Sox Team Transactions February 2008". Boston.redsox.mlb.com. March 27, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ Ian Browne (June 18, 2008). "Masterson keeps 'living the dream'". MLB.com. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  11. ^ Rob Bradford (July 8, 2008). "Justin Masterson off to become reliever". Boston Herald. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Justin Masterson: Back in Boston". Rotowire.com. July 20, 2008. Retrieved July 23, 2008. 
  13. ^ "A miracle comeback: Red Sox 8, Rays 7". Telegram.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "MLB trade deadline: Boston Red Sox's pursuit of Victor Martinez of Cleveland Indians heats up - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. August 1, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ Hoynes, Paul (March 2, 2012). "Justin Masterson to start Opening Day for Cleveland Indians". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians". MLB.com Gameday. April 5, 2012. 
  17. ^ Bastian, Jordan (October 7, 2012). "Indians name Francona as next manager". MLB.com. 
  18. ^ "Justin Masterson named 2013 opening-day starter: Cleveland Indians Insider". cleveland.com. February 26, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson becomes third pitcher in MLB history to beat both reigning Cy Young Award winners in same season, first to do it in first two starts of season - MLB News | FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. April 8, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ Perry, Dayn (February 18, 2014). "Indians, Justin Masterson avoid arbitration, agree to $9.7M deal". CBSSports.com. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  21. ^ Hoyns, Paul (March 20, 2014). "Negotiations over between Justin Masterson and Cleveland Indians". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Indians score late, hand A's 10th straight Opening Day loss". CBSSports.com. CBS wire reports. April 1, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Justin Masterson pitches immaculate inning against Red Sox". sbnation.com. June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  24. ^ Nightengale, Bob (July 30, 2014). "The Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from the Indians". USA Today. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 30, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  26. ^ Solari, Nick (July 31, 2014). "Corey Kluber, Indians wear high socks to salute Justin Masterson after trade". NESN.com. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  27. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (August 3, 2014). "Cards' offense shines bright in Masterson's debut". MLB.com. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Justin Masterson". SoxProspects.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  29. ^ http://www.newenglandsportscountry.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=89
  30. ^ O'Donnell, Matt. "Masterson fulfilled by faith, then baseball | MLB.com: News". MLB.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  31. ^ Senior Analyst (June 24, 2009). "Boston Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson speaks at Pentagon". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  32. ^ 3:16 PM, April 22, 2013 (April 22, 2013). "Masterson putting his faith into action, plans visit to Kenya in November - newsnet5.com Cleveland". Newsnet5.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Team Not For Sale – Not For Sale: End Human Trafficking and Slavery". Notforsalecampaign.org. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 

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