Brandon Morrow: The Man, The Mystery, the Mayhem


This statement is debatably true or false: Brandon Morrow has been mishandled by the Mariners organization.

This statement is undebatably true: Brandon Morrow could have been handled better by the Mariners organization.

Brandon never had a chance with Bill Bavasi in the driver’s seat.  He was hauled up to the majors as a reliever after somewhere around 20 minor league innings despite the fact that he profiled as a major-league number three starter with unbelievable upside and had racked up strikeouts in college.

So Brandon ended up in the “88-win” Mariners bullpen and did….okay.  Opposing hitters had a LD% of 20% against Morrow, he walked close to 7 batters per 9 innings, and his tRA (park-adjusted and defense-adjusted ERA; created by one Graham MacAree of Lookout Landing) was 4.75.

Then 2008 happened and the M’s figured, “screw it, let’s put in the rotation now that our season has been hopelessly derailed.”  Morrow made 5 starts, walking 18 and striking out 28 over 28 innings.  But Brandon made a name for himself one breezy September night when he no-hit the Yankees through 7.2 innings, leaving after surrendering just one hit, walking 3, and striking out 9.  Brandon threw pitches that made my knees buckle, and I was at home watching the game; needless to say, I’d hate to have been the Yankees lineup the day.  [Griffin, if you can find any gifs of some of those sick breaking pitches Brandon threw that game, feel free to add them into this post.]

-Griffin’s note – Done, hopefully this is okay with Lookout Landing.

So Morrow was officially in the rotation, and everything was hunky dory until Zduriencik made the strange decision to stick him back in the bullpen, referencing Brandon’s complaints about not being able to regulate his blood sugar over a 6-7 inning start (he has diabetes, people).  The blogosphere was not happy.  The fanbase was confused.  Brandon Morrow was confused too.  After posting a -2.7 pRAA over 18 extremely ineffective innings as closer, he was quoted as saying that he wanted to start all along.  So Brandon went BACK to the rotation, getting in several tuneup starts in AAA.

Brandon was okay in the rotation from that point on.  At a certain point, Zduriencik realized he needed more seasoning and sent him to the minors.

So what lies in Brandon’s future?  A start tonight at Texas will be very telling.  Don’t expect him to be excellent against such a good lineup.

This statement is undebatably true: Brandon Morrow has incredible upside.