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Insider

Masterson's new value as a Cardinal

7/31/2014
Justin Masterson was tops in MLB in ground-ball rate in 2013 and is second thus far in 2014. Jason Miller/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals acquired right-hander Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians for minor league outfielder James Ramsey Wednesday, a day before Thursday's trading deadline. Although I've never been a big Masterson fan, he really could improve in the National League. Masterson now gets to face opposing pitchers a few times per outing instead of designated hitters like David Ortiz and Victor Martinez. The composite NL ERA is 3.67, as opposed to 3.91 in the AL. In addition, Masterson is one of the most extreme ground-ball pitchers in the game and is striking out plenty of hitters. Plus, if you compare ERA to fielding independent pitching (FIP) -- which I do on occasion because it often tells a more accurate story of performance, of things pitchers can control -- you'd see that Masterson's nightmare season certainly appears to be due in large part to bad luck