We have a pretty good idea of the Justin Masterson skillset. He’s got a big, sweeping motion and he leans heavily on a low-90s sinker. Sometimes he’ll threaten to go entire games without throwing anything else. Masterson keeps the ball on the ground, he strikes out about one batter for every six, and he issues the occasional walk. Last year, he posted about the same FIP as Jon Lester and C.J. Wilson, which is good company at least in terms of name value. Masterson’s ERA was elevated, but, ERA.
Relative to the league average, over his career, Justin Masterson has pitched to the tightest strike zone out of the sample. Because 1,000 called pitches is an unfamiliar denominator, know that Masterson has averaged about 1,815 called pitches per 200 innings. So this is a pretty extreme result we’re looking at, and it’s the sort of thing that makes you want to regress it going forward. It makes you want to blame someone other than Masterson — someone like, say, Masterson’s catchers. One wonders if this is a framing thing, since, in theory, a strike zone is a strike zone. Why should Masterson get screwed so badly?
Generally I think that the pitch framing stuff is pretty interesting. Here we have a look at the effect of poor framing on a specific pitcher.