Texas Tech has not been traditionally known as a baseball powerhouse. They've had some nice players come out of their program, such as former Astros Keith Ginter, Chris Sampson and Travis Driskill, as well as Dallas Braden. Recently though, Tech has developed a couple of players with solid major league prospects. Outfielder Barret Barnes was drafted by the Pirates with the 45th pick last year. Starting pitcher Trey Masek is hoping to go even higher.
Masek, who stands a 6'1'' and weighs 195 lbs., is Tech's Saturday starter for his junior season. He's improved his numbers every year, and after a solid showing in the Cape Code League last summer he established himself as one of the better options among second tier college arms. He's not Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray or Braden Shipley, but Masek simply gets the job done out there on the mound.
Masek's numbers this year have been up there with the best pitchers in the entire nation. He doesn't do it with killer stuff, but that ERA is pretty and he's seen major improvements in his K/BB ratios, though his overall command has room for improvement. He's allowing fewer runs, walks and extra base hits and getting more strikeouts. His 2013 has been highlighted by some ups and downs; he missed almost a month of the season with tendonitis in his arm, but also carried a 32 inning scoreless streak to start the season. That streak was broken up in the second inning of March game against Texas, but he proceeded to shut the Horns out the rest of the way. That's one run allowed in 40 innings if you're scoring at home.
Masek preceded his breakout 2013 with a good showing in the 2012 Cape Cod League. As a member of the Falmouth Commodores (sweet team names up there in the Cape) he posted a 3.17 ERA in 39.2 innings with a K/BB of 47/15.
Though his production is up there with the Appel's and Gray's of the nation, his stuff isn't at their level. Masek uses 3 or 4 pitches that are currently average, with the exception of a low 90s fastball that has touched 94 which is a little better than his other offerings. His secondary pitches have the potential to become above average. He uses a curve as his main secondary pitch, though he's introduced a slider into his repertoire. He also uses a changeup, which I think he's moved to his #3 pitch over the slider. Masek doesn't have any so called "out" pitches, but he does have a good feel for pitching and has good reviews on his mound presence.
The other knock on Masek is his height. At just 6'1, he doesn't have the prototypical frame you'd like to see in a pitcher that has a chance of being picked pretty high. He's definitely undersized and pretty lanky. However, he gets a good push off the mound and has a quick finish to his delivery, which is fairly unorthodox. I see a lot of Roy Oswalt in Masek, even more so than in Corey Knebel, another guy who I profiled and kind of compared to Roy O.
Masek could end up in the bullpen long term if he doesn't develop one or two of his secondary pitches into above average to plus offerings. If he can develop one of those secondaries, I feel like he can have a good career as a back of the rotation option that eats up some innings. A comp I like for Masek's floor is a current Mike Leake with a little less pure stuff, someone who's spent time in the pen but can help a team out with some quality starts.
Masek is really similar to Oswalt. They have similar deliveries and measurables, and if his curve and slider improve into above average to plus offerings, he could turn into a #2 or #3 starter in the mold of Oswalt. However, I don't think he'll develop the fastball velocity the Wizard did, so he won't be a top of the rotation guy.
Will The Astros Draft Him?
As one of the surplus of second tier college pitchers that are projected to the end of the first round, Masek still has a chance to distance himself into a better draft position. Guys like Trevor Williams, Andrew Thurman, Dillon Overton, Tom Windle, Jason Hursh and others are all near the same level of Masek in terms of draft position. If the Astros do indeed take Appel or Gray at 1.1, they probably won't be looking for another college pitcher at 2.1. Even then, I'd rather see the Astros target high upside guys (see: high schoolers) with their next few picks.
That being said, there's a lot to like about Masek. He doesn't have much upside or projectibility, but a good pitching coach could harness those secondaries into a lot of major league success. I see him going within the first 70 picks, but not before 35.
Trey Masek - RHP - Falmouth Commodores (07-19-12 at Hyannis) (via alskor)
(Baseball Pro video)
"Texas Tech’s Trey Masek (RHP) threw well this summer on the Cape, showing as one of the most effective starting pitchers in the league. While he produces two potential above-average offerings with his fastball and curve, he may project best to the pen at the pro ranks due to his stature, fringy plane and lack of current effective off-speed. Today’s video features Masek pitching during the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game, played this year in Harwich, Massachusetts."- Baseball Prospectus
"The idea is not to give up any runs, and he isn't. He can really pitch. His stuff is good. You wouldn't call it electric or outstanding, but just solid stuff across the board. He can really pitch, he has good command, he throws strikes. He's out there competing, a little bulldog. He was 90-93 for me when I saw him, and he held it all the way through the game. His slider was better than the curveball, I thought. Some other guys saw him and thought his curveball was better. They're both solid-average pitches. He mixed in some good changeups. It could be another solid-average pitch; he doesn't use it much. He really pitches off his fastball, but I saw a couple (of) good ones. He's a good pitcher."- Baseball America
"Whether it’s fair or unfair, the main criticism of Trey Masek looming in the scouting community is that he’s not 6-foot-3. At 6-foot-1, 195-pounds he is indeed considered mildly undersized for a right-handed starter. The other way to look at it, however, is that if he was a more prototypically sized right-hander, we’d be having a very different conversation about where Masek may be selected in June. The fact is that there are very few holes in his game, and his height is about the only thing keeping him out of that first round picture."- Perfect Game