Justin Masterson

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Justin Masterson
Justin Masterson Cleveland.jpg
Cleveland Indians – 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 2013 season)
Win–loss record 53–63
Earned run average 4.03
Strikeouts 839
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Justin Daniel Masterson (born March 22, 1985) is a Jamaican-born American professional baseball starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball. Masterson was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the second round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. Masterson was rated as the 64th-best prospect going into that year's draft by Baseball America.[1] Masterson stands 6'6", and weighs 250 pounds.

Masterson was the first Red Sox pitcher since the park's 1912 opening to make his first four consecutive starts in Fenway Park and not lose any of them.[2]

Early life[edit]

Masterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where his father served as dean of students at the Jamaica Theological Seminary.[3] 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 during his sophomore year. He then attended San Diego State University. As a relief pitcher, Masterson pitched out of the bullpen in the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2005, saving 10 games for Wareham while posting a 1.15 ERA.

Pitching[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 mph, 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.[4]

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 to 81 mph. He can vary his sinker at speeds of 84 to 96 mph, sometimes catching batters off balance.

Career[edit]

Boston Red Sox[edit]

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

Masterson was signed to the minors by Dan Madsen, and was both a starter and reliever in his minor league career for the Lowell Spinners. In 2007, his second season, Masterson was promoted from the Class A Lancaster JetHawks to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. Masterson's twelve wins that season ranked second among all Red Sox minor leaguers.[5]

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."[6]

In 2006, Masterson was named to the Baseball America short season all-star team.[7][8][9] Masterson was converted to starting pitcher in early 2007, after a stint as a relief pitcher for Short Season Lowell in 2006.

The Red Sox invited Masterson to spring training during early 2008.[10] On April 24, 2008, he made his Major League debut against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in an emergency call-up start. He pitched six full innings and allowed one run. Masterson was immediately sent back to Portland following the game. On May 20, 2008, Masterson made his second appearance, pitching 6.1 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 due to Bartolo Colón's back injury.[11] 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.[12] Masterson was recalled on July 20 due to an injury to David Aardsma[13] In his first relief appearance, he was solid against the Seattle Mariners, shutting down the hitters and working 2 and 2/3 scoreless innings. The game took place at Seattle's Safeco Field.

Masterson picked up the first postseason win of his career in Game Five of the 2008 American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Red Sox' 8–7 victory.[14]

In 2009, Masterson began the season in the bullpen while also starting 6 games before being traded to the Indians.

Cleveland Indians[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.[15]

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.[16]

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, Masterson was the Opening Day pitcher for the Indians 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. Masterson threw 8 innings, giving up 2 hits and 1 run while striking out 10 and earned a no-decision.[17]

Masterson regressed in his third season with the Indians, finishing 11-15 with a career high 4.93 ERA in 34 starts.

On April 2, 2013 Masterson became the back to back Opening Day starting pitcher for the Indians.[18] He defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2012 Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey. Masterson's second win was against David Price, Rays 2012 Cy Young winner. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Masterson became just the third player in MLB history to beat both reigning Cy Young winners in the same season — and the first to do in his first two starts of the season..[19]

Personal life[edit]

Masterson married Meryl Ham on November 3, 2007.[20]

During his tenure with the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, Masterson's entrance song has been Skillet's "Rebirthing".

Masterson is a Christian and often speaks of the importance of God in his life.[21] He spoke at the Pentagon's weekly prayer breakfast in June 2009.[22]

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.[23]

February 2013: Partnered with Not For Sale Team.[24]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 100 Prospects: No. 61-80". Retrieved April 18, 2008. 
  2. ^ Holmes, Baxter (June 9, 2008). "Fun in games for Masterson". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Profile: #21 Justin Masterson". San Diego State University. Retrieved April 17, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Justin Masterson". SoxProspects.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ MLB "Second place among all Red Sox minors.". mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved June 1, 2008. 
  6. ^ The Daily Aztec
  7. ^ "BaseballAmerica.com: Minors: 2006 Minor League All-Stars". Retrieved April 14, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Justin Masterson Statistics — The Baseball Cube". Retrieved April 14, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Minor League Baseball: Stats: Player". Retrieved April 14, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Red Sox Team Transactions February 2008". Boston.redsox.mlb.com. March 27, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ Ian Browne (June 18, 2008). "Masterson keeps 'living the dream'". MLB.com. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  12. ^ Rob Bradford (July 8, 2008). "Justin Masterson off to become reliever". Boston Herald. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Justin Masterson: Back in Boston". Rotowire.com. July 20, 2008. Retrieved July 23, 2008. 
  14. ^ "A miracle comeback: Red Sox 8, Rays 7". Telegram.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ Hoynes, Paul (March 2, 2012). "Justin Masterson to start Opening Day for Cleveland Indians". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians". MLB.com Gameday. April 5, 2012. 
  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. ^ http://www.newenglandsportscountry.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=89
  21. ^ By Matt O'Donnell / MLB.com. "Masterson fulfilled by faith, then baseball | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ Senior Analyst (June 24, 2009). "Boston Red Sox Pitcher Justin Masterson Speaks at Pentagon". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ "Team Not For Sale – Not For Sale: End Human Trafficking and Slavery". Notforsalecampaign.org. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 

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