Equipped with a sinking fastball that sits between 88 to 92 mph and a four-seam fastball that tops out at 95 mph, Britton is Dave Duncan’s Krispy Kreme doughnut. He, Britton not Duncan, throws a slider to left-handed batters and an ever-improving changeup thanks to former teammate Brain Matusz. Yes, that Matusz with a league average changeup this year, according to FanGraphs. Either way, Britton has improved his changeup since being drafted out of high school with Keith Law’s silver tongue saying, “His changeup improved over the course of the season to the point that it’s an average pitch or better.” Law ranked him his number 25 overall prospects. He has also garnered praise for reducing his walks and developing better command of his pitches. Nevertheless, all scouts are repeating what Law has said, “His control remains below-average and his command of all pitches and feel for the slider need to improve… [Could] slot in very nicely as a No. 2 starter behind Brian Matusz.” How’s this season and career fair? Thought you’d never ask.
2010 stats from Double-A (EL)
2010 Stats: 6.8 K/9 | 3 BB/9 | 73 IP | 2.84 ERA | 3.61 FIP | 1.29 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8.6 H/9 | .293 BABIP | 64.8 GB% | 13.6 LD% | 19.9 FB%
Career Stats: 7.2 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 458 IP | 3.18 ERA | 3.72 FIP | 1.27 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8.1 H/9 | .288 BABIP | 63.1 GB% | 11.1 LD% | 21.5 FB%
A career 63.1 percent ground ball rate, an unsavory strikeout rate and slowly improving control leaves my lips mouthing, “Justin Masterson, Jaime Garcia, and even Aaron Cook” while my fingers type, “He’ll be playing in the AL East on a terrible team.” Yeah, it’s hard being an Orioles fan, yet alone one of their players. However, Britton possesses strong skills – sinking fastball, low home run rates, even LHB/RHB and Home/Away splits in the minors – to quiet the bats of the AL East beasts. There aren’t any injury concerns that raise red flags from his past. Last year, he started feeling “shoulder fatigue” in his pitching shoulder when he neared 140 innings pitched. He’s done well this year at Double-A and should be in line for a promotion to Triple-A if he keeps pitching well. His “stuff” isn’t going to blow major league players away like Strasburg, but Law says his slider has the, “potential [to be an] out pitch when he’s not getting ground balls.” Currently, he’s nothing more than a name to put on your September call-up radar as pitchers Brandon Erbe and Pat Egan would get a shot at the majors before Britton. With the O’s season nearly over, September may come sooner rather than later if you’re catching what I’m pitching.
Logan Morrison | 1B | Florida Marlins | DOB: 8-25-87 | 6’2” | 215 lbs | B/T: L/L | 22nd rd. 2005 Draft and follow from College | FLA #2 prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page
Drafted out of Maple Woods (Mo.) Community College –yes, Albert Pujols played here – where Morrison’s body finished maturing by gaining two inches and 20 pounds. Blessed with a balanced, flat swing with plus-power, and the organizations best plate-discipline and as Keith Law points out he’s, “extremely strong with plus raw power when his wrist is healthy; he has great hip rotation and can drive a ball even if he doesn’t square it up perfectly.” Marlin fans were calling for him to play over Sanchez during Spring Training. Fair enough, but all the scouting reports I’ve read made certain to note that Sanchez, if producing, will need to switch positions for Morrison to be in the majors. If you have been following the Marlins outfield, than you know Sanchez doesn’t have much of a shot playing out there, nor does Morrison who plays adequate defense at first. So how has Morrison performed this year?
2010 stats from Triple-A (PCL)
2010 Stats: .328/.415/.555 | 137 AB | 20 XBH | 4 Hr | .227 ISO | 1/1 SB/CS | 20:20 K:BB | .363 BABIP | 49.2 GB% | 13.9 LD% | 37.3 FB%
Career Stats: .293/.379/.470 | 1551 AB | 162 XBH | 51 Hr | .177 ISO | 22/11 SB/CS | 276:210 K:BB | .328 BABIP | 49.5 GB% | 16.9 LD% |33.5 FB%
Hampered by a broken thumb in 2009, Morrison became extremely patient at the plate. Another thing he does at the plate, he uses the gaps instead of always swinging for the fences. For example, Baseball America noted that he rivals Mike Stanton in BP, but during games he’s not looking for the towering homers. This year his LHP/RHP and Home/Away splits are showing no significant differences. Here is what I wrote about Morrison this offseason in my Minor League Review of the Florida Marlins, “He projects to be a number three hitter as he has great plate-discipline, a solid swing, and consistently puts the bat on the ball. His defense is average at best. The Marlins have played him in the outfield because they want Morrison and Gaby Sanchez in the same lineup. He is currently playing at Triple-A and will need an injury or a prolonged slump by Sanchez to play in the majors before September this year.” All that still sounds about right, but with an added possibility of a trade. I like Morrison. A LOT! It’s not often when a hitter projects to be a .300 average hitter with 30 homers and good plate discipline. I’d be on him like white rice in wild rice soup if I were any of you who are in a Dynasty league with minor league spots. If you listen to the rumor mills, you waiver wire pirates should swoop in when you hear any serious media rumors/stories about his potential call-up.