When Brandon Morrow was acquired by Alex “The Great” Anthopolous, it was known to all Jays fans that part of the issue he had was most likely due to his being used in the pen and in the rotation alternatively during the season. This messed up his mechanics, threw his timing and state of mind off and led to mediocre stats and performances that were well below his potential. After seeing his 19th start of the year, I feel confident enough to say that Morrow is performing as a #3 pitcher and truly has #2 potential, and is worthy of bragging rights as the winners of that deal with Seattle.
Over his last 10 games, Brandon is 3-2 with a 3.19 ERA, 62 IP, 54 HA, 22 ER, 21 BB, and 60 Ks. If we take out the two “bad” games against the Yankees (5 ER) and Red Sox (4 ER), we’re left with 2 games where he allowed 3 ERs, and the remainder are all 2 ERs and under. That’s a very consistent stretch of games and a reflection that everyone was right, leaving him in the rotation (with the right coaching and help of course) would lead to a blossoming of his skills as a starter. The Jays have to be happy to see Brandon pitch so well.
Last night’s game was no exception. Brandon came close to getting out of a bases loaded-no out jam in the 5th inning as he struck out Julio Lugo, but Cesar Izturis ruined that effort with a nice gap single to drive in the only 2 runs of the game for the O’s. Other than that inning, Brandon was lights out. He allowed 5 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings (for a 1.00 Whip in the game) and struck out 8.
Having said that, the Ms really got a great looking OF prospect in Johermyn Chavez in the deal with the Jays. Chavez, playing in HiA, is hitting .296 in 348 ABs, has 19 doubles, 4 triples, 21 HRs, 4 SBs, and a .366 OBP. Although his speed is down a little, he’s showing off his power potential. I would caution that most hitters that will struggle in the minors usually hit a wall in AA or AAA, so his performance doesn’t guarantee anything. Still, at only 21 years of age, the same as Adeiny Hechavarria, you have to expect he’ll make it to The Show at some point.
As for the other part fo the deal, Brandon League, he has become one of Seattle’s best trade chips now that they’ve dealt Cliff Lee. He is 5-6 this season (a ton of decisions for a relief pitcher, an indication of how much they’ve relied on him in Seattle) and has a mediocre 3.86 ERA and 1.263 Whip over 44.1 innings. League’s lack of dominance is the reason I chalk up the trade as a Jays win. He’s simply not living up to potential. Gregg’s stats (ERA better, Whip slightly worse) compare just as well and he’s closing in the AL East, so that tells you where League sits in relief rankings. Still, the Ms should be able to get some decent returns for him as the trade deadline approaches.
Brandon Morrow now has 119 Ks in 107 innings on the season and had his best month in June, when he held a 1.91 ERA over 5 GS, a 1.091 Whip, walking 10 and getting 34 Ks in 33 innings. I am definitely one of those who always believed Brandon had the stuff to be this good. You can see the proof in the fact that I sponsor his page at Baseball Reference! Going forward, Brandon simply needs to build confidence and to build his repertoire of ways to get out of tough innings. After that, he should become one of the most dominant RHPs in the AL.
Other game notes:
- Yunel Escobar turned his first DP with the Jays and looked good again at the plate, going 2 for 5 with a run scored. In fact, between him and Fred Lewis at the top of the order, 2 other Alex “The Great” Anthopolous acquisitions, they hit .400 with a HR. If both of these guys can continue to get on base and drive the ball hard, teams will find it very hard to pitch around the power bats that come thereafter!
- Jose Bautista hit his 25th HR of the season…than goodness he didn’t take part in the HR derby. The question remains, which team will attempt to trade for him….if any?
- Adam Lind and Aaron Hill are both beginning to look comfortable at the plate. I’m not sure if it’s being in the 5th-6th holes in the lineup, but both had solid ABs yesterday, a great sign if the Jays want to make a run in the 2nd half.
- All 3 RPs on the block, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, and Kevin Gregg did not allow a run in relief yesterday. Although, Gregg did allow 3 walks, which can’t raise his trade value very much….For fantasy baseball fans who need to jump on closers when necessary, Shawn Camp and Casey Janssen seem the likeliest to become closer if all are dealt, followed by Jeremy Accardo who earned his 16th save in AAA Las Vegas yesterday
The Jays are now 46-45 on the year after making themselves 8-0 versus the O’s this season. They’ll send the recovered Shaun Marcum to the mound against future phenom Brian Matusz as they try for the sweep.