The common wisdom within the Blue Jays organization and Toronto sports media suggests the Seattle Mariners rushed Brandon Morrow to the big leagues, then further hampered his development by using him inconsistently as both a starter and closer. For that reason, Morrow, who is only in his second uninterrupted season as a starter, will only improve on his success.
Ghostrunner on First refers to an article in the Bellingham Herald, in which Brandon Morrow (he of the glowing FIP) espouses his preference for SABR stats.
Drunk Jays Fans takes exception to a Bleacher Report post that ranks Ricky Romero in the top five for the AL Cy Young award. According to DJF, Morrow’s superior fWAR makes him a far better candidate than RR Cool Jay (he of the knock-you-out ERA).
Concerning the Morrow-for-League-swap, even though Brandon League has had an all-star season, I would rather have Morrow. A good starter trumps a good closer, in my mind, because he would pitch about three or four times as many innings. The 162-game season is a marathon, and a good team requires three or four long-distance runners. League did flirt with dominance in 2006 and 2008, but he failed to put it together in consecutive seasons. We gave him five. We’ll see in two years how the Morrow for League trade looks.
Hopefully Casper Wells, drilled in the face by a Brandon Morrow fastball, suffers no serious damage. The Ghostrunnner post links to Morrow’s immediate apology tweeted to Wells.
A professional in the twittersphere and on the pitcher’s mound, Morrow did get in some hot water loading the bases in the sixth inning Wednesday. But he managed to get out of the inning, allowing just one run.
The Morrow line – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 12 SO
“Morrow is a fireballer,” I typed on MLB Gameday.
In response, a frustrated Blue Jays fan wrote:
“Morrow is nothing more at this point than a #3-4 starter, League is already an elite closer. Morrow is very frustrating to watch, he is like AJ Burnett.”
Morrow is a #2 starter on a good AL East team that’s getting better. He’s also 27 and improving. As for Burnett, sure, he’s frustrating to watch (34 and past his prime), but don’t forget he’s a former *18-game winner, who made a significant contribution to the Yankees 2009 World Series championship. Having said that, Morrow’s ceiling is higher than Burnett’s because Morrow doesn’t throw emotionally, he pitches with resolve. As for League, he’s had a good season, but MLB is littered with the carcasses of closers, who had one good season. I’ll take Morrow over League any day.
*Wins, as per AJ Burnett’s 18 of them, are not the best measure of a pitcher’s contribution. To say wins mean nothing, however, ignores far too much data, on winning and losing teams alike, correlating strong ERA (in various incarnations) with positive W-L records. Likewise, poor ERA often correlates with negative W-L records. I have yet to determine which combination of traditional and SABR statistics provides the most accurate overall picture of a pitcher’s contribution. If one employs traditional stats, Romero is our ace. If one is purely sabermetric, then perhaps Morrow becomes our ace. No matter the case, they make a fine one-two punch.