Brandon Morrow exceeds at throwing baseballs. He is really good at it. I know this despite results that, on the long view, are merely mixed. He strikes out lots of people while walking only a few, compared to his copious strikeouts.
On days like Saturday, when Brandon Morrow is cruising along and everything seems to be going swimmingly, it seems the he cannot be touched. Then one bad inning comes along and submarines the entire process.
Is Brandon Morrow the victim of consistently bad luck? Is he proof defense independent stats are missing a key element to successful performance? Does his diabeetus limit his potential as a starter? I don't think I can answer any of these definitively, but we can surely look.
Brandon Morrow tires easily
Do I believe this to be the case? I don't believe that I do. It is a possibility, especially when we consider Morrow's fluctuating blood sugar. Some people, like Dustin Parkes, believe Morrow gets hurt during Spring Training because he isn't conditioned properly. This may well be the case but I don't know that I'm ready to condemn Morrow's off-season workout routine. But it is worth investigating.
Firstly, let's look at Morrow's numbers by inning. Using Baseball Reference's numbers it is more about results than process but that is what we're after - the source of middling results.
Hmmm, highest BABIP over the inning with the most runs/worst numbers? Not too surprising but hardly conclusive.
Instead of innings, let's look at pitch counts. Baseball Reference uses 25 pitch buckets so guess what? So do I.
This...this is something. Something more, anyway. Morrow's numbers in the 75-100 pitch group are actually better as far as strikeouts and walks go but it seems that more balls turn in hits. His BABIP is WAY out of whack with the rest of his numbers.
Beyond the numbers here, I looked at Morrow's pitch f/x info and created the same 25 pitch buckets to look at some more in-depth numbers.
|Pitch Bucket||Whiff Rate||Average Fastball velocity|
Does that look, to you, like a man who tires early? It doesn't look that way to me. Less than a full mile-per-hour is not significant in my eyes. He keeps missing bats and the home runs aren't even that much more significant.
One thing that does increase as Brandon Morrow starts progress: errors. Hardly the perfect metric of the fielding support he receives but it stands our none the less. In fact, of the 90 balls put in play in the 50-75 pitch bucket, 4.44% of them were turned into errors. That's only 4 errors of 6 committed behind him this season in total.
It isn't that Morrow is completely free of guilt and his defense has completely let him down, it is that shit happens. Shit seems to happen over and over to Brandon Morrow - only when it matters most. He comes so close to putting together completely dominant starts.
The skill is there. I don't think there is much development left for Brandon Morrow, more discovery.
Data from Joe Lefkowitz, AP Photo by Patrick Semansky courtesy of Daylife.