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May 22, 2013

Fantasy Freestyle

Cool Slider, Bro

by Jason Collette


Nick Swisher is one of my favorite players in baseball to watch play the game because I appreciate how he works a count and genuinely seems to enjoy playing the game. My favorite part about his game actually comes off the field, because he is comedic gold when you get him talking on a topic he is excited about. Take his recent assessment of teammate Justin Masterson.

Swisher was asked by Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to describe teammate Justin Masterson in three words, and in the most Swisher response ever, he replied, “Power sinker, bro.” Swisher expanded his bro-view of the hurler by adding, “What’s really impressive is the number of strikeouts he’s had. Look at any great team and it starts with that number-one guy.”

Not all number-one starters are created equal, but that is what Masterson has become for Cleveland in 2013. He entered the season with just 39 career wins against 53 losses, a 4.17 ERA, and a 1.39 WHIP. Anyone who has owned Masterson has been frustrated by his inability to lose the mayorship of Splitsville, because he has been extremely efficient in retiring right-handed hitters but has continually struggled to limit lefties.

Coming into 2013, right-handed hitters had a career 602 OPS against Masterson while left-handed hitters enjoyed a lofty 784 OPS, built on a .287 batting average. His career strikeout rate against right-handed hitters was just over 23 percent, but that rate fell to just 14 percent against left-handed hitters. This season, Masterson has changed his ways and has seen a change in results through his first 10 starts.

Masterson has offered some insight into what he is doing differently to beat writers this season. He disclosed the following to Stephanie Storm of the Akron Beacon Journal last month while discussing sub-par outings in 2012:

“During those starts, I noticed everything was going good and then I remembered thinking, ‘Now I’m going to try to get a little more on this [pitch], do a little more,’ ” he said. “And all of a sudden, the ball flattened out. Instead of me just being happy with [throwing] 90, 91 [mph] and just pitching, I tried to ramp it up.”

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Nati... (05/22)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Dig... (05/20)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (05/22)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (05/22)

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