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May 15, 2013 posted by Paul Greco

Buy-Low or Cut Bait? – Brandon Morrow

Buy-Low or Cut Bait? – Brandon Morrow
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Brandon Morrow’s peripherals went into a desperate free-fall last year and have continued to plummet so far in 2013. The biggest problem with conducting statistical analysis with paltry sample sizes is the issue of reliability in the statistics. The caveat of course is the coveted statistical three-year trend. Morrow’s three-year trend rates are incredibly alarming. The data below is according to FanGraphs.

Year Chase % First Pitch Strike % Swinging Strike % K% BB%
2011 30.0% 61.0% 11.5% 26.1% 8.9%
2012 27.3% 59.9% 9.0% 21.4% 8.1%
2013 24.0% 49.4% 8.3% 19.1% 9.6%

 

At first glance this looks to be a case of a pitcher progressing into his late 20’s and losing velocity as mileage on his arm increases. That’s not the case with Morrow as he’s reclaimed his velocity from 2011.

Year Fastball Velocity
2011 94.57
2012 93.79
2013 94.26

 

The likely explanation for Morrow’s struggles is the lingering injuries. Injuries play an unquestionably large role in the year-to-year inconsistencies for Morrow. He spent 74 days on the disabled-list with an oblique injury in 2012, 29 days in 2011 recovering from right forearm soreness and 15 days in 2009 with right biceps tendonitis. According to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, Morrow is reportedly dealing with back spasms and will miss his Wednesday start. Morrow has dealt with these before in 2008, so at the very least he will be familiar to the rehab process should he end up on the disabled list.

Is the litany of injuries to blame for Morrow’s struggles as he attempts to reclaim his 2011 peak skills? Well, according to Doug Thorburn, mechanics expert analyst for Baseball Prospectus, Morrow grades out with C+ mechanics with a grade of 40 (well below average) in posture. Issues with his obliques and back are sure to exaggerate his already weak posture.

Here’s an illustration of Morrow’s issues with his delivery:

chart (1)

Morrow wasn’t exactly the model of consistency in terms of release points and mechanics before his 2012 injury shortened campaign. Morrow becomes an interesting buy-low candidate on to sheer upside alone assuming injuries are indeed exaggerating his delivery problem. If his issue is indeed injury related and he ends up on the disabled list, owners of struggling teams would be wise to stash him much like Brandon Beachy or Michael Pineda. If Morrow doesn’t hit the disabled-list it’s a situation to stay far away from, until he gets that much needed rest.

Paul finished the 2011-2012 Fantasy Football season as the #1 Weekly Rankings & Projections winner of the 411Fantasy Expert Challenge. He also finished 2nd in the FantasyPros.com Expert Draft Accuracy Challenge in 2011. Top 10 Finisher in the FSWA Fantasy Football Draft Projections. Paul is also apart of baseballs elite as a member of Tout Wars. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulGreco
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