Brandon Morrow Needs A Lot Of Work
This probably isn’t news if you watched him pitch last night, or really at all since he returned to the team, but Brandon Morrow isn’t any better now than he was before his trip back to Tacoma. In fact, he might be worse.
In his two starts since rejoining the club, Morrow has displayed his usual lack of command, throwing strikes on just 58% of his pitches. But combined with his inability to find the plate, he’s added the new inability to miss bats. Of the 177 pitches he’s thrown in those two starts, he’s gotten 11 swinging strikes. When batters have swung at his pitches, they’ve made contact 91.7% of the time. Among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched this year, the highest opponents rate of contact belongs to John Lannan, at 88.7%.
John Lannan is a pitch-to-contact groundball lefty with a fastball that averages 88 MPH.
His command is already Double-A quality. He can’t get left-handers out. And now, he’s not even fooling hitters. This version of Brandon Morrow is not a major league starting pitcher. He’s not even really close.
If I was advising Zduriencik on specific goals for the winter, #1 would be finding a team that still believes that Morrow can be a top of the rotation starter and is willing to pay for the right to try to turn him into one. He’s not anywhere close right now, and I think the M’s best option is to try to trade him to someone who still sees a 96 MPH fastball and thinks he’s got ace potential.