Pitcher Preview: Brandon Morrow

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An almost-ace.

Brandon Morrow has been nearly a really good pitcher for a pretty long time, despite the fact that he's only 29 years old. Back in 2010, for instance, he struck out over 28% of the batters he faced (a ridiculous number). His 4.49 ERA lagged far behind his spellbinding peripherals, though, making him a hot wait-till-next-year commodity for the Jays. Well, next year came, and the same thing happened: 3.53 xFIP, 4.72 ERA. Wait till next year.

In 2012 Morrow got less overpowering, only striking out around 21% of the batters he faced (that's still respectable), but he also managed a 2.96 ERA over 124.2 innings, and demonstrated for about the zillionth time that when you have a pitcher -- even one that you think is some special outlier -- his peripherals are a better predictor of his future ERA than his past ERA is.

The 2013 season went very badly for Morrow: 50 innings of bad baseball and a nerve injury in his throwing arm. Still, even only looking at his pitches from last season, it's easy to see the potential for dominance.

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via pitchfx.texasleaguers.com

Morrow's fastball averaged 93.5 mph, and touched the high 90s at times. His slider, averaging 87 mph is a hard out pitch. Over the course of Morrow's career, both lefties and righties have whiffed at the pitch nearly 40% of the time that they've swung (according to Brooks Baseball). His splitter falls off the table, and with everything else that hitters need to worry about, it doesn't seem fair that Morrow can also go to a legitimate curve, just to break up the pattern.

There's a chance Morrow can't throw strikes today, and that Matt Joyce and Co. get him out of the game with 110 pitches in the third inning. There's also a chance for a no-hitter every time he takes the mound.

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