2013 Cubs Prospects in Review: Trey Masek

Trey Masek was one of the more intriguing arms that the Cubs picked up in the 2013 draft. Originally slated to go in the first round, a bout of shoulder tendinitis knocked his stock down considerably. While Baseball America had Masek as high as 48th, Masek actually went with the 138th pick in the draft. The slot value for the pick was $357,400, but the reason he probably fell to Chicago was that he had a senior year with which to regain some of his value (even the bottom of round 1 is $1,433,400 slot). That turned out to be unfounded, however: Trey Masek signed for slot on June 19. 

Performance

Masek barely played this year. He saw 2.1 innings in the rookie league, and then 16.2 innings at Boise (all in relief). His K rate was 27.9%, but he walked 11.8% of batters also. It's an essentially useless sample size, though. Masek will not pitch in the AFL; I'm not sure if he'll play any winter ball at all, or take the winter off to do some conditioning.

Scouting

Masek was one of the top prospects in this year's Cape Cod League, and also a great pitcher in college for Texas Tech. He's 6'1", 185 pounds, with a really deceptive and quick delivery. While Masek has some decent stuff, the inability to see the ball at all until it's already en route is going to go a long way in helping him be successful. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dd7t6Jilt4

Unfortunately, it appears that he's more suited to a relief role than starting. He started junior in college (after relieving as a sophomore), but he's already had tendinitis concerns and was shut down junior year. His delivery is also fairly violent, with a lot of movement late in his offerings. I'm not sure it's repeatable as a starter for 200 innings. 

Masek has 4 pitches. His 4-seam works in the very low 90s (89-92), but he can touch 95 when the occasion calls. He's got a nifty curveball, a slider, and a change as well. It's sadly a waste that he couldn't start with 2 off-speed offerings, but it'll be nice to see him add a mile or two to that 4-seam to make it a little more zesty. 

Since Masek is only 6'1", he's fighting an uphill battle as far as planing is concerned. I don't envision a real increase in velocity as he ages/fills out, either. He's going to have to rely on a pretty good feel for his secondary offerings and deception from that sneaky delivery to retire hitters at the higher levels.

One last thing; I could totally be off base here, and this is purely amateur scouting to me, but based on that 4 minute clip up there, it looks like he gives away his low offerings by leaning way forward as he delivers the ball. It's probably nothing, but if I ever get to see him on milb.tv, I'll be sure to look at that to see if it's true. It's probably not an issue, but I thought it was worth mentioning. 

Outlook

From all accounts, Masek is going to be a quick riser. He pitched 3 years in college AND the Cape Cod League, and is 22. I'd be surprised if he DOESN'T see himself in an 8th inning role in Kane County to begin next year. I don't think he has any one fantastic offering to close with, but he has the tools and delivery to be a very effective multi-situational reliever. Those players have value; think of a J.J. Hoover type to give an approximation of what he could end up as. If everything breaks reasonably well, he could see some time in Daytona or even Tennessee at the end of 2014, start 2015 in Tennessee and pitch his way into a September call-up (he'd be 24). More likely, he'll spend most of 2014 in Kane County with a late-season promotion to Daytona, and then he'll pitch his way up to Iowa in 2015. 

If Masek progresses quickly enough, he could be an underrated part of the Cubs' actual contention cycle.

2013 Cubs Prospect Reviews

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