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.