Masterson Trade Reaction


It was a move that had been rumored over the past few days, the Indians, according to a variety of reports, made it known they were willing to deal the club’s de facto ace Justin Masterson. The Jamaican-born right-hander has, to put it mildly, been a major disappointment this season.

After putting together the second best season of his seven-year big league career, Masterson followed that up by setting career worsts in walk percentage (12.4%), ERA (5.51), and perhaps more damming velocity. Between 2009 and 2013, his fastball averaged between 92.4 and 93.1 mph, an incredible sign of endurance for a sturdy pitcher approaching his 30th birthday. This year, however, it’s dropped to an alarming 90.5 mph.

Add in the fact that Masterson’s fresh off the DL – literally, his start with the Cardinals on Saturday will be his first action since July 7 – and that he’s due to hit the free agent market after the spendthrift Indians declined to sign him to an incredibly team-friendly deal, and it’s a wonder that Cleveland got anything back. They certainly couldn’t have picked to deal their former ace at a worse time.

For their troubles, the Indians receive outfielder James Ramsey, whom I ranked as the Cardinals’ #7 prospect recently.

Using a player classification system I’ve dubbed CAL, or Comparison And Likeness, which you will be able to read more about it in greater detail on Beyond The Box Score Thursday afternoon. Basically, in a nutshell: CAL searches through a database and determines the most similar minor league prospects from previous years. Then, using the evidence educated analysis can be made.

Without further ado, Ramsey’s top comparisons aren’t very inspiring to this point:


Age Level Comparison CAL
22 A+ Kyeong Kang 988.96
23 AA Kyeong Kang 991.22
24 AA Steven Souza Jr. 992.22


Kang is now in his fourth stint in Class AA and Souza absolutely mashed at AAA this season, but profiles more as a solid role player, which is basically where Ramsey should fall into.

The lefty-swinging Ramsey has shown solid-average power, a decent eye at the plate, and a smidgeon of speed. He’s going to be a useful piece to the big league club, but just not as an everyday player.

In the end, though, the Cardinals added some much needed depth to their rotation while dealing from a position of need. And the Indians acquired more than fair value given everything that was working against them.




After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: