Brandon Morrow is already a decent fantasy starter, due to the high number of strikeouts he gets owners every outing. However, he tends to walk too many guys, which can lead to serious problems. I don’t care what NERD says, Brandon Morrow is not a fun guy to watch pitch if you have an interest in the outcome of his starts.
But, during June, Brandon Morrow was super awesome. Morrow pitched 33 innings, striking out 34 while walking only 10. Now, a guy walking 10 batters a month isn’t exactly outstanding, but for Morrow it actually is. His June walk rate was 2.73 batters every nine innings, compared to over 5 batters every nine innings in April and May.
I was wondering what Morrow was doing differently in June, if anything, so I decided to talk to Dave Allen, our resident pitch f/x guru. He told me, and I quote:
I can’t really find anything in the pitchf/x data to indicate how he dropped his ball rate so much. His Zone%, OSwing% and the other likely candidates are all very similar. I also don’t see much difference between where his pitches are ending up in the zone in June compared to May/April. I think it might be just a small sample size thing…Also with just 33 innings it is hard to find tons of patterns in the data.
I find this to be strange, but I’m going to trust Dave on this one. Just looking on the surface of the situation, it makes sense. Morrow’s Strike% was normal, so he wasn’t pounding the zone any more than usual.
Another interesting aspect of Morrow’s June was his batted ball types. Morrow, a flyball pitcher, got over 52% ground balls during the month of June. His rate on the year is 42.5%, and he’s reverted back to his old form in his two July starts.
In his first start of July, Morrow struck out seven while walking one batter, in six innings of work. While he struggled against the Red Sox this past weekend, Morrow has at least shown the potential to limit the free passes. Keep an eye on him, because if this trend continues, he’ll be worth a pickup.
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