Brandon Morrow, at NYY June 30

=== Morrow June 30 ===

D-O-V's keys for Morrow have been (1) finish out in front, and (2) throw smoothly rather than muscling up.  We'd rather see a 94 first-pitch strike than a 96 first-pitch ball.

This was -- coincidentally -- *precisely* what Morrow did against the Yankees:  his FB velo dropped from 95.3 to 94.3, but he threw 65% of all fastballs for strikes.  He finished nose-to-leather and, for one game, completely solved the issue of control.

We also recommend the "First Tee 3-Iron" strategy:  throw 94 smoothly the first inning or two, and air it out as he gets into his rhythm on holes four and five, so to speak.  Looked to us like Morrow did that; his first few pitches were nice and smooth, and he stayed there early.


Unfortunately, in this one game his offspeed stuff left him, so we didn't get to see what would happen with first-pitch strikes plus killer putaway pitches. had his offspeed strike % way down, and worse, it had all his offspeed stuff at 88-90.  Completely missing was the 85-86 pitch that he'd been using to wipe guys out with two strikes.

If anybody has any clue why all of his offspeed stuff was 88-90, and a bit wilder, rather than mid-80's, let us know.  Ah well.


So lacking his offspeed stuff, did he get rocked for eight runs by the $200M Yankee lineup?  No, he gave up a grand total of five hits, thusly:

1) A slow roller by Johnny Damon, on a pitch that literally broke his bat in half, that snuck by Russ Branyan down the RF line

2) A three-bouncer up the middle by Robinson Cano

3) A soft, seeing-eye grounder to Jose Lopez' left by Jorge Posada

(e) A topper to Chris Woodward that was thrown away creating two runs

4) A clean line-drive single up the middle by Cano

5) A medium ground ball through the right side by Mark Teixeira

Maddening.  The first three Yankees in the 2nd inning hit easy bouncers and toppers, and they all got on base.  That was the two runs.  ... of course, the 4th inning was legit:  the only clean hit followed by two walks, bases loaded 0 out, run expectation about 2.5 runs with that lineup.  (Popup, grounder, strikeout, one run.)


Except for those "base hits," Morrow got 7 groundouts, 4 strikeouts and had 3 balls hit in the air:

1) Infield pop

2) Medium fly ball, SF

3) Lineout to 2B

In Yankee Stadium, with all the HR's this year, that's quite a performance considering you have your B game.   That's 24 Yankees faced, almost three times through the lineup, 98 pitches, and only one maybe two balls squared up.


Granted, he walked five guys, that being with the New York home umping against a lineup of rich K/BB hitting stars.  That's the black mark. 

We're not making excuses:  Morrow is a long, long ways from a finished product.  For example, even if-and-when he throws 65% FB strikes, and adds his 85 offspeed stuff, he is still not going to be *locating* his FB within the strike zone.  He may be two-three years away from where Felix is, and a year-plus from where Verlander is.


But!  Morrow has already demonstrated as much consistency with his offspeed game as most ML pitchers have, and once he mixes in ANY kind of first-pitch FB consistency, he should be able to string some very nice performances.

In terms of the talent, it was on display, and in terms of harnessing the fastball, the progress is visible.   For the Yankees to have that much trouble squaring you up, when you have only one pitch, that's the kind of thing that has the M's drooling.

It ain't the first time we've said it and ain't gonna be the last:  Different rules apply to the #1 draft picks.  Brandon Morrow isn't a one-size-fits-all pitcher.


Dr D



Taro's picture

I actually agree. I was really impressed with the way the Yankees were struggling against Morrow's stuff.
If he could just be wild within the strikezone, he'd be effective enough to be a #3 starter on this team.
Btw Justin Verlander > Felix Hernandez although its REALLY close. Both are easily among the top 5 pitchers in the AL.

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