Let’s See Morrow This!

It really shouldn’t be a cause for celebration to hear that a team has identified problems that are plain as day– or not even that plain– and is taking steps to correct them, but on the other hand, I get the feeling that there are a lot of fans of the hockey team in this city who spent a good part of the last several months pulling their hair out pining for just that.

So, I guess it’s good news, not only that Brandon Morrow had an extremely efficient outing yesterday– 17 strikes in 23 pitches over three innings– without even using his slider, but that John Farrell had this to say, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star:

“Equal to all that is is his unloading time with men on base. Last year, at times, he’d try to get too quick. His delivery would come apart at times and he wouldn’t be able to command a baseball as consistently. This is two consecutive outings where he’s been very much under control, like I said, the emphassis being on his curveball. His ability to throttle hitters back and forth, he’s not going to get them on a fastball yet, but if he can get a feel for those secondary pitches, it’s going to make his fastball thast much more effective.”

In 2011 Morrow saw his walk rate go from 8.7% with the bases empty, to 9.2% with men on, and 10.2% with runners in scoring position. His FIP went from 3.54 to 3.78 to 4.33, and his xFIP from 3.35 to 3.78 to 4.10.

BABIP? .273 to .335 to .355. Batting average? .217 to .255 to .272. Flyball rate? 37.6% to 47.4% to 49.5%. Groundball rate? 37.9% to 33.2% to 30.6%.

In other words, he was demonstrably worse with runners on base. And, mercifully, it sounds like the Jays are well aware of this and taking steps to correct. Not that we should expect any differently from a professional sports organization, but still… thank fuck.

Mike Wilner makes sure to throw a little cold water on those getting hyped over Morrow’s impressively-efficient day yesterday, pointing out at his blog for the Fan 590 that he was facing the Orioles, and “the only major-league regular they brought to Dunedin was one who only became a regular because Brian Roberts was knocked out for basically all of last year with a concussion.”

True enough. But I’ll still take it.

Comments (33)

  1. Good to see that they’ve noted Morrow’s struggles out of the stretch and are taking measures to correct that. That’s really the main thing holding him back from elite status.

  2. Hey, don’t try and tell Jonathan Papelbon that Robert Andino isn’t a regular

  3. What does throwing strikes have to do with a regular lineup?

    Was he going to throw less strikes with a regular lineup?
    As mentioned he didn’t even use his slider.
    Farrell said he was making use of his secondary pitches(and getting strikes).

    But that’s our Wilner , finding the negative wherever he goes.

    • I guess maybe you can throw it down the middle with more regularity and maybe they’ll chase some, but yeah, you’re pretty much bang on.

    • Are you fucking serious? Wilner finds negative now? Get your horseshit straight, man.

      • Ya, I’m fucking serious

        Jeez ,even you said. “makes sure to throw a little cold water on those getting hyped ”

        Everybody is raving ( See your next post) about Morrow’s spring training with the exception of Wilner.So Wilner notes the only possible negative and you don’t see a problem with that?
        Perhaps you can explain the corrrelation between major and minor leaguers when throwing strikes.Does it make a difference?

        I make a comment about Wilner,not even about you or the post, and you go off the deep end.
        Instead of this reply ,explain in a coherent manner why I’m wrong.You might convince me to change my mind.

        Get a grip about another viewpoint.These aren’t personal attacks against you.

        • While I don’t necessarily have a problem with your line of reasoning against Wilner’s poo-pooing Morrow’s competition as a matter of throwing strikes —

          What is more debatable is the statement that he finds “the negative wherever he goes”.

          Although pretty opinionated and he’ll tell people when they’re dead wrong, Wilner has pretty objective with his evaluation of the Jays. He’s been a big booster for McGowan and a supporter for AA’s steadfast-ness in the offseason. So I wouldn’t exactly characterize him as a pissing-on-my-cereal curmudgeon.

          • A strike is a strike whether it’s thrown against Major league player or a player in rookie league.

            At least in everyone’s mind except Wilner’s when a strike really isn’t a strike because it isn’t thrown against Major league players.
            So in Wilner’s mind the same ball thrown in the same location, on the same ball diamond will be a strike when thrown to a player in “A” ball but it really doesn’t count because it wasn’t a major leaguer.

            I’ve seen him refuse to answer a question on his live blog because of a misplaced apostrophe.Totally ignoring the questions content.
            He mocked people for when they refered to the Jays as “we”.Constantly ridiculing callers for mispronoucing Lawrie.He proudly mentioned this to Lawrie when he interviewed him.Lawrie said it didn’t bother him how people said his name.

            You coulda heard a pin drop.

            What’s your definition of “a pissing-on-my-cereal curmudgeon”?

        • It’s just… who the fuck possibly thinks that Wilner is negative? It wouldn’t be tough to argue that he’s one of the least negative guys on the beat– and that’s a slag I think he had to take for a long time, as do most of the guys, unfairly, who work for Rogers-owned outlets.

          Did the rage welling up in you each time he took Cito and your little war-on-facts-and-logic style to task give you a monumentally warped impression or something? Do you not remember the, y’know, last eight years of JP Ricciardi’s reign?

          I mean… Jesus, man. I’m not “going off the deep end” to defend a specific person here, I’m just honestly in fucking awe of your spectacular ridiculousness, and your rush to pile more fucking ridiculousness on top of it when you get called on it.

          Hands up anybody else who thinks Wilner “finds negative wherever he goes”?

          • Personally, I’ve always thought of Wilner as overly optimistic. Not particularly a big deal, though. He is, in my opinion, one of the better voices in mainstream Toronto media.

          • Too bad you don’t have “like” buttons anymore you’d be able to find out.
            Interesting that you ignored the content of my comment and didn’t respond to that but instead took it upon yourself to attack me.

            Again, when is a strike not a strike.
            When it’s not against a major league player?

            You seem to take this personally. You can’t find any fault with my viewpoint so you try to bring Cito and JPR into the discussion.
            You still haven’t presented a coherent rebutal to the original point in my comment.
            Try to stay focused, instead of trying to change direction of the discussion.
            I’m all for somebody calling me on it.Bash away.
            When is a strike not a strike?

          • Radar, I already said that I don’t really have a problem with you getting all pissy about Wilner’s logic in terms of Morrow throwing strikers to major-leaguers or minor-leaguers. So you don’t have to explain it to me again to prove your point. It’s actually quite logical.

            Yeah, I can get the fact that sometimes he’s a bit sanctimonious and sometimes a bit of a jerk.

            Bear in mind, we’re all on these boards because we cheer for the Jays, and we don’t like ignorance and we’re dicks about it when we see it. You wanna call him a dick, go ahead. But he likes talking to and respect people that are informed, not unlike us.

            How many times have you ridiculed someone for quoting BA or RBIs as stats? If you’re going to condemn him, you might as well condemn this entire community.

          • My hands are at my sides. I have never once thought of Wilner as negative or positive. He has a well-informed opinion and sticks to it. He certainly lacks patience for morons, but more power to him on that. He tempers rampant optimism when it is rampant, and I have heard him do the same (quite literally all off-season) about rampant negativism.

            Negative is Greg fucking Millen or Pierre whateverthefuckhisname is on TSN. Those guys never have a nice word come out of their mouths.

          • These things reply out of sequence, Radar. I posted mine before you returned to the “when is a strike” garbage I intentionally ignored in the beginning as completely irrelevant to my concern.

            I haven’t addressed it because, in addition to how much I don’t care to even try and wrap my head around you petty pissing, you went and said something far dumber when you said Wilner finds the negative wherever he goes. That statement had me awestruck for its complete oppositeness of anything I’ve thought or the sense I’ve ever got from the unwashed masses around here. So I called you out on it, because you’re far past the point of just letting the dumb shit you continue writing politely slide.

            Also, I didn’t bring up Ricciardi for your sake, champ, I was pointing out how Wilner was always defending that GMs moves, and took a lot of shit on it? Remember?

            Ahh, but too bad we don’t have like buttons any more, because apparently we’re all somehow oblivious to the fact that clowns around here will like anything negative said in my direction? If you’ve been taking “likes” as validation, no wonder you’ve gone so far off the deep end into laughable ridiculousness.

    • @ Jays 2010
      Respectfully disagree.

      So why did Wilner get suspended in the middle of the season?

      • Wilner didn’t get suspended last season but the season before, for having asked Cito about a questionable substitution. Cito got all butt-hurt and gave his some curt and condescending answers. Wilner didn’t appreciate it so he pushed the issue.

        It was a very public verbal altercation, but whatever happened after, I’m not quite sure since it was behind the closed doors of Rogers. I’m not sure what your point is. Just because he got into a little tussle with Cito (who’s not really biggest ray of sunshine) doesn’t mean he’s always negative.

        • Sorry I didn’t specify the season before.
          But Cito-gate is a myth.
          Both Cito AND Wilner’s only comment on the matter, was that Cito had nothing to do with the suspension.
          Wilner was suspended for his abuse of callers on the radio and on his live blog.
          There was a noticable difference when he returned and now allows callers to refer to the Jays as “we”.

          • Do you have a source to this?

            This might be PostHoc reasoning but it happened almost immediately after his altercation with Cito. I have not read anything differently. If you have new information to share, by all means.

          • It was discussed to death at the time.
            I’ll see what i can do.

          • You really should probably stop thinking about this stuff. You’ve built up a completely warped alternate reality in your head about the third man in the radio booth for a baseball team. Surely you have better things to do. I’m serious, this is weird.

            Wilner may have toned it down when he returned, but does that mean the Cito stuff had nothing to do with it? Holy mother of fucking false. Correlation, causation and whatnot. Jesus.

      • Well I don’t live in the GTA and only occasionally hear or read Wilner’s stuff…but when he talks about certain players (Lind, Snider, Wells, Rios among others), he seems to sometimes highlight what they can do as opposed to giving a more realistic prediction of what can be counted on.

        Like I’ve defended the POSSIBILITY of Lind being better and that he may have been injured for much of last year. But I certainly don’t think anyone should expect him to play at an all start level like he did in 2009 and the first part of 2011.

        And even after a couple of years of Snider struggling he would talk about how he thinks he’ll still be a perennial top 10 MVP candidate…sure, it’s possible. And in a vacuum it’s fine. But many teams have these types of players not just the Jays. and what is he basing this prediction on? Second hand scouting reports?

        I dunno, these probably aren’t the best examples and I’m not trying to say Wilner is a Jays homer or anything. I just felt at times he was a little too glass-is-half-full.

        • Fair, Jays2010, and that’s what a lot of people sometimes feel, and why it’s so completely petty and genuinely crazy that Radar not only feels the opposite, but digs in when it’s pointed out that he’s being petty and genuinely crazy.

    • Good hitters crush bad strikes; weaker hitters don’t. That’s the difference. A pitcher can get away with more bad strikes when facing weaker hitters. If Morrow can repeat this performance in two weeks, facing more major-league regulars, then I’ll believe that he’s really improved; until then, I think it’s pretty reasonable to remain guardedly optimistic.

      Even I can throw strikes to major-league hitters, but at 76 mph and down the middle, any pro hitter would crush me mightily. That’s the difference.

  4. @spclxk

    Beleive it or not,I have NEVER ridiculed somebody for using BA or RBI.
    We are all at a different stage of understanding baseball.I learned what I know from being around diamonds and talking to those who know much more than me.
    Some even had a WS ring.
    NOT one of them talked down to me,regardless of how silly the question may have seemed to them.
    I take that same tact except when somebody tries to laud their knowledge as the only correct answer over somebody who is trying to learn.
    I started commenting on this blog when BFF started berating a commenter who didn’t understand advanced sabermetrics.
    I will continue to do so.

    • Again, I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove to me.

      The original point of this discussion was the debate was whether Wilner was some pessimistic blowhard. I’m not sure he is. Sure, he rubs people the wrong way, but he’s often been very optimistic of this team’s potential lead by a very talented general manager. He has given plenty of rope to a management team that is looking at sustained success in a different way than free agency (whether you agree with it or not), as opposed to the many mainstream opinions out there. So again, he could be a dick, but he is far from being completely negative about the Toronto Blue Jays. He just happened to be today.

      You had mentioned before the reason why you visit this is for the “dickish” way it approaches the variety of news that covers our beloved Toronto Blue Jays. In my own personal opinion, I don’t really see a lot of difference between Wilner’s attitude and the ones around here.

      • I know Mike personally, and have done for 25 years. I say that only to tell you how I know what I will claim to know here about him.

        Mike is generally optimistic and upbeat, loves to laugh, and especially loves spending time with intelligent people who push him and can handle being pushed a little. When he gets to spend enough time with folks like that, he has patience for everyone else. He is humble when he doesn’t know, and expects humility from others when they don’t know. When he does know, however — and he and I share this trait — he insists on defending his point of view, and if you want to convince him of your point of view, then you have to work at it.

        His impatience generally fits into two categories: when you should really know better, and when he feels bombarded by ignorance. Both get to him. They get to me, too.

        What you might perceive as pessimism — in Morrow’s case in particular — is Mike trying to present a realistic interpretation of the situation, and trying to stop people from over-reacting to Morrow’s 27 strikes. Think of how many knee-jerk reactions he deals with every day throughout the season from his callers. In that context, can you blame him from wanting to rein in those same people when they go nuts over one good performance? There’s reason for optimism, to be sure, but so was the 1-hitter. Let’s see what Morrow does next time before we conclude that he’s figured it out.

        That’s all. In a media landscape littered with idiots and bandwagon jumpers, Mike wants to present a more realistic, sensible, level-headed view of things. I agree that he takes out perhaps too much of his frustration on his Jays Talk callers, but in more cases than you realise, that’s because he thinks Toronto fans can be better than that. I think so, too.

        • Well written.

          But as host of one of the top rated radio shows he should know that Jays fans come in all flavors.If he and you are expecting that all callers at the same baseball intelligence as himself,he’s gonna have a short list of callers.Casual fans are becoming passionate and caring.Craving for information and learning,which is why they call and write.To ignore the content of their questions because those questions are beneath him or have syntax errors or aren’t up to his level of intelligence is elitist at best and rude to say the least.
          We all started our interest somewhere and our level of knowledge increased as we became more passionate about the game.
          Mr.Wilner should be thankful that fans care enough to call him, even at the risk of being ridiculed. He should take the time to pass on his knowledge of the game because they respect what he has to say.
          There was a time when he knew diddley about the game and asked questions.I’ll bet the people who answered those questions didn’t berate him or treat him like a fool because of his lack of “intelligence”

          • “There was a time when he knew diddley about the game and asked questions. I’ll bet the people who answered those questions didn’t berate him or treat him like a fool because of his lack of ‘intelligence’.”

            I don’t listen to Mike’s show every day, but I have noticed that on the rare occasion that people ask questions, he answers them with some patience. Unfortunately, more callers make ridiculous comments than ask questions, and I count rhetorical questions as comments.

            I think Mike could show more patience, and also worry that he overdoes it, but many of the people he deals with make ridiculous claims, present them as though they were facts, and that’s just frustrating.

            I’d like to see Mike have a forum designed for him to teach. I think he might enjoy it, and I think it might have surprisingly good results.

            One thing for sure: I’m as much as pedant as Mike when it comes to grammar and writing. I have cut back on pointing those issues out to people; he hasn’t cut back as much as I’d like him to.

          • Thanks for the insight and thoughts

            I have no doubt his public persona is different than his public one.
            On a positive note,I did note his softening of certain policies during last season.

            PS .I had to look up the meaning of “pedant”

            1. a person who makes an excessive or inappropriate display of learning.
            2. a person who overemphasizes rules or minor details.
            3. a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.


            I learned something.

            Have a good night

          • Wilner constantly, politely handholding idiots though the basics of baseball like they’re children. Now that’s some great radio!

            Wilner isn’t the only person to whom a question about baseball can be asked. These people presumably listen to the show, they know what they’re getting into, and that’s what’s entertaining about it. It’s not a public service.

    • He hosts a radio call in show! It is his job to force people into defending their views. If you call into his show, he wants you to not talk shit and come at him with some defensible positions.

  5. I think when this Jays team starts rolling.. you are going to see the leafs play second fiddle.. not to mention the IQ of those running the Blue Jays is way the hell higher than the IQ of those running the Leafs.

    • Oh how I wish… At the same time, I am one of the few who prefers having some elbow room at the game, so as long as the Jays aren’t losing money, I am happy to have the stands up to three quarters full. Not too mention being able to comment on Jays stories on the Globe and not be one in two hundred on every article. I much more feel a part of something with the Jays.

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