Ask me who my favorite baldie in the Red Sox organization is and, believe it or not, I won’t say Kevin Youkilis.

I’ll say Justin Masterson.

I had a chance to “meet” Masterson at the Rookie Development Program Autograph signing about a month ago, on January 16th. He was very silly and very sweet to poor little starstruck me.
I was quite literally struck speechless at being this close to Clay Buchholz.
I kept trying to zoom in on his face and catch him smiling or laughing.

As I zoomed out at one point, Masterson leaned back, trying to let me get a better view.

We both got laughs from that.

I asked him to smile for the camera and he pulled this face.

…and then waved.

He laughed again at that.

I handed him my baseball to sign and he handed it back, as the people in front of me had finally moved on from Clay.

I knew a bit about him before going to the signing (he has started and done relief work, has a funky sidearm delivery, throws two really good pitches and one good pitch that includes a 94-mph sinker, and basically anything else you can find out from his SoxProspects page), but I decided to look up a bit more about him.

I found out that he was 22 years old and predominantly a catcher until his sophomore year in college. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, because his father was working there. He doesn’t know if he wants to start or relieve, and even though he’d been told starters make more, he doesn’t care about the money (I know, they all say it, but it’s still fun to hear). He is often compared to Derek Lowe in terms of pitching style and projected to play a Mike Timlin-like role (which is a just fine comparison–Timlin has 4 rings!). He was also very relaxed and silly about being (at the time) in both possible packages the Sox were offering to the Twins for Johan Santana:

“It doesn’t bother me too much. I’m with the Boston Red Sox, the greatest organization, so it’s fun. Every once in a while, I’ll get a text from a friend: ‘I just heard this about the trade.’ OK, man, have fun with that.”

(I do like that he called the Sox “the greatest organization”. +1, Justin.)

His WHIP in 14 games in Class A Lowell (his pro debut, after being drafted in 2006) was 0.69 (all in relief). At A Lancaster, early this year, where he was converted to a starter, it was 0.82. At AA Portland, where he finished this year, also starting, it was 1.16. His ERA has been above 4 at every level (except for Lowell), but his 3.52:1 K:BB ratio is far above Mike Timlin’s 2.14:1 (for comparison, Josh Beckett’s is 4.85:1).

In 10 starts in AA Portland in late 2007, he averaged 9.16 K/9 innings pitched, and 2.79 BB/9IP.

And to close it off, some more pictures!

Image from RIGHT HERE.
This is the ball I got signed at the Development Program signing!
Image from San Diego State University.
Pitching in college… look how straight his throwing arm is!

All of the following are from sittingstill.net. (HUGE shout-out, Kelly, for your awesome pictures. They’re going to be on here a lot.)

And I have decided, in the spirit of papel-blog’s NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML, to begin tUfWJMSHH: the Union for Why Justin Masterson Should Have Hair. Take that last one, for example, and photoshop hair onto his head (and make it darker, because then it looks less like a bad ski hat):

Is it just me or, given what he looks like with “hair”, if he followed the advice of tUfWJMSHH, he could have as many girls chasing him as Jacoby does? Too bad he’s married… I wonder if he has any (younger) brothers?

Rookies are the best.

February 9, 2008

Who needs Roger Clemens when you can have these guys?

All pictures from sittingstill.net.


I’m convinced these two are bestest buds. I love how much taller Buch looks than Jacoby.


Jed Lowrie, Jacoby, Buchholz, and Justin Masterson. Look how smiley they all are! More on Masterson’s funny-shaped head and my case for WJMSHH (Why Justin Masterson Should Have Hair) later.


Gee, how’d that one slip in there?


Lowrie looks every bit the part of “exuberant minor-leaguer on the first time he stood on the field at Fenway”. Buch and Jacoby look like old, wizened veterans in comparison…


…but who says they are?