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This is ridiculous.  Brandon Morrow has been a sleeper for me going on three years.  I realize this.  Hence my pointing-it-out’ing.  Here’s what I have to ask myself.  Is he just another Ricky Nolasco?  A guy that consistently has an ERA higher than his xFIP and you should just ignore?  Nolasco had a 5.06 ERA in 2009 and a 3.23 xFIP.  Pegged by everyone and their monkey’s uncle to be a breakout candidate in 2010.  Monkey’s Uncle, “Actually, I liked Mat Latos.”  Then in 2010, Nolasco flopped again — 4.51 ERA vs. a 3.37 xFIP.  At that point, I gave up hope for Nolasco because his K-rate started falling.  In 2011, Nolasco once again gave fantasy owners false hope with a 4.67 ERA vs. a 3.55 xFIP.  But now his K-rate is has gone from falling star to Vampires in Brooklyn bad.  RN needs exactly that to nurse his ERA back to respectability.  I don’t think Morrow does.  I think the sun will come out for Morrow.  So what can we expect of Brandon Morrow of 2012 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Big difference between Nolasco and Morrow is a terrific K-rate — 10+ in 2011.  OH, GREY, IT’S JUST A K-RATE AGAIN, ISN’T IT?  I understand your frustration, Mr. Al Caps.  Morrow’s BABIP was about right at .299, but everything you want of a solid pitcher was a bit lacking.  He didn’t leave men on base (65.5%), balls in parks (10.4% HR/FB) and he walks hitters (3.46).  But — and like J. Lo this is a big but — his walk rate last year, always a huge issue for him, was the best of his career.  Great sign!  (Sorry for the non-sarcastic exclamation mark, but Morrow gets me excited.)  The month of June last year is exactly what we want from Morrow over the course of a season.  It wasn’t a particularly lucky or unlucky month.  He gave up a few homers (3), struck out hitters (9.87), didn’t walk a whole lot (3.19) and left baserunners on (69%).  His BABIP of .284 was a tad lucky, but not bonkers.  All doable numbers.  That month he had a 3.77 ERA.  If you have a guy striking out almost 10 batters per nine, a 3.77 ERA is a thing of beauty.  For next year, I’ll give him 13-9/3.85/1.28/210.  I love Morrow!* (*If Morrow fails to live up to expectations in 2012, he’s dead to me.  This will be our last dance.)

From Around The Web

  1. chata says:
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    @ Grey :

    gotta be careful with that DTM (dead to me) List .
    started my a few years back … afraid it might be turning into a novella .

    am sitting here , giggling like a school girl , envisioning the day that you announce that berkman has made your DTM List .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Yg6sxxtNQ&feature=related

  2. chata says:
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    edit*
    my = mine

  3. Barack says:
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    You’re right, Morrow is like Nolasco, he underperforms what is expected of him, kinda like someone else I know.

  4. Eddy says:
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    Grey, rankings coming out in a week?

  5. SwaggerJackers says:
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    Morrow should come relatively cheap this season since he still hasn’t put it all together yet. I might take a chance on his post-hype.

    Last season I offered a trade of Hamilton for Lincecum and got countered with Hamilton for Nolasco. LOL

  6. Wake Up says:
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    Ha…Molasco…Murse Nolasco…

  7. Wake Up says:
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    Morrow is def enticing. You know his K’s are going to be there. I think the question is, can he keep his walks down again? Also, his big jump in sliders is concerning. His K/9 will be there, and I think he will get to sub 4.00 ERA, but I doubt he gets to 200 K’s and 200 IP. Throw your changeup!

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SwaggerJackers: Hehe…

    @Wake Up: I think we’re going to see one year where he’s downright filthy and then he’ll be hurt for the rest of his career. Thinking this year is as good as any.

  9. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    yeah morrow is like that sexy girl with bad breath,have a few beers and a cigar and youll forget about the breath,hehe

  10. Wake Up says:
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    @Grey: No doubt he’s filthy.
    @AL KOHOLIC: It’s last call…but it’s not gonna be my last drink…Morrow is more like the girl next door who hasn’t blossomed yet…not quite hot, but big potential…and the bar is closing and I got a buzz, so…

  11. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Wake Up: evil minds think alike

  12. royce! says:
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    I can’t find the article discussing this from a while back, but someone delineated how Morrow has continually gotten unlucky on BABIP when people were on base, which resulted in his BABIP appearing to be in the normal range, but actually being unlucky. Last year, with runners on he had a .335 BABIP, and with RISP, he had a .355 BABIP. I thought that perhaps this variation had something to do with defense being more complicated when there are runners on, but it wasn’t true for Romero, and also was not true for the top 10 pitchers last year. It also can’t be that players were making better contact, because his LD% was lower with runners on.

    It was even more pronounced in 2010, when, despite a low LD%, he had a .411 BABIP with RISP.

    Anyhow, I agree that he’s a sleeper, and hope to land him on at least one team (kinda doubt that I can in the RCL, considering that I wasn’t able to draft any of your sleepers last year (except Nishioka, blech) because of all the reaching).

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: I agree, Nishioka was awesome. He met my expectations for Nick Punto without the scorn of having to draft Punto. Agreed on Morrow, he’s a mess with runners or he’s just the world’s unluckiest man. I think it’s the former probably, but his Ks make everything all right if he can hold his gains on less walks.

  14. royce! says:
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    @Grey: Ha! The best thing Nishioka did for me was get hurt so I could drop him.

    I don’t see what makes you say that it’s probably that Morrow’s a mess with runners on– are you just being pessimistic, in order to protect your heart from him putting up another high ERA season? He did walk about .9% more batters when he has RISP, but that could have been the product of trying not to give the batter anything good to hit. His LD% is actually lower with RISP than with no one on, which, combined with his K% being the same whether runners are on or not, makes me think he’s actually pitching better, but getting unlucky.

    Believe, Grey!

  15. exactly says:
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    hey grey, i’m back for my 2nd year with the razzball crew! And I’m excited about morrow…but who do you prefer morrow or bumgarner?

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Oh, I’m believing for one more year. Twelve after twenty is our time to shine! (Morrow and me, but I’ll include you if you like.)

    @charlie batch: His grandkids will be happy for him.

    @exactly: Bumgarner

  17. Lance Berkman says:
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    I’m better than konerko

  18. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    Spinal surgery done, so far so good. Don’t even have any significant meds on board. Roomed up with a 6’11” former Phoenix Sun (Wayne something… Baserman?) who’s telling me all kinds of stories about Darryl Dawkins and Patrick Ewing. Dunno’ how much is true, but they’re good stories, at least.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Awesomus Maximus: That’s awesome news! Mend, baby, mend. Any stories you can share?

  20. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    Oh, and my nurse is smooooowwwkin’ hot! I told her, “You met my wife, and I know you’ll see her again, so I’m not trying to pick you up. However, I need to address the fact that you are absolutely gorgeous.” With that out of the way, we are now freely flirting with each other. I might aim for a midnight handie if I didn’t have a catheter… OUCH!

  21. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    @Grey: I’m spending more time with the nurse now and less time with the doode. He hasn’t had his regular dose of [I won’t write it here for the sake of his privacy] and he’s just nonstop complaining about that. No more fun stories… boo…

  22. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Awesomus Maximus: That’s Florence Nightingale syndrome. She probably looks like Nurse Ratched but between the meds and sympathy you’re all googly.

  23. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Awesomus Maximus: ha,get well soon,catch us some dawkins stories and accidentally get a little touchy with the nurse,hehe

  24. royce! says:
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    Looks like Maholm is gonna end up a Cub…it’s too bad, he could’ve made a great hodgepadre.

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Animal Collective covers, ha! Maholm should go back to not all that useful in mixed league again.

  26. royce! says:
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    @Grey: I guess only a handful of players can be hodgepadres… can’t blame me for hoping for one more, though.

  27. mic says:
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    @grey: @royce: maybe Morrow has trouble out of the stretch… for some reason some pitchers are awkward like that…

  28. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:
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    @Grey: @AL KOHOLIC: Thanks for the good wishes; much appreciated. It’s crazy… this wing is actually crawling with cute, young nurses on every shift. And it’s a teaching hospital, so the nurses in training are even younger and cuter. I finally found something I like about Philly!

  29. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:
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    I love Morrow, i just hate those days where you see that 8+ ERA. His strike outs always entice me though.

  30. TheNewGuy says:
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    Another good column Grey, always enjoy reading these in the OS.

    Did Morrow end strongly to the season? Cos thats usually the sign of a breakout pitcher, or did he have just one good month. Could a theory be, he gets a bit rattled when runners are on, so decides to just make sure he gets it over, leading to a lot of multi run homers? That might explain his low LR% yet poor strand% with runners on.

    Never been a big fan of him but you might be right. Still he’s a worthwhile gamble if cheap enough, and if he improves outve the stretch he’ll be worth it! Has certain resemblances to D-Cab (Daniel Cabrera) though for me…

  31. duder says:
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    @royce!:

    That’s called mentally freaking out/not being able to pitch from the stretch. It’s not all statistics. He isn’t unlucky. Some pitchers legitimately pitch worse with men on.

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