Tag: Brandon Morrow

MLB Trade Rumors: R.A. Dickey Trade Would Solidify Toronto Blue Jays’ Chances

It would appear the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets have agreed on players for an R.A. Dickey trade, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS, stranger things have happened than a trade like this falling through. 

But should this deal go through, Dickey will be the final addition to a Blue Jays squad that catapulted itself into a playoff contender. 

The key Toronto player involved in this trade is top prospect Travis d’Arnaud

If you’re not familiar with who he is, d’Arnaud was the cog when the Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay in December 2009. 

Last season he hit .333/.380/.595 in an injury-shortened season. But regardless, he is in fact scheduled to make his MLB debut in 2013, and he seems to have all the tools necessary to make for a solid big league catcher. 

R.A. Dickey is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and at 38, it’s difficult to tell whether his knuckle ball will continue to break over the plane of the plate for seasons to come.

But alas, there’s no reason to believe it won’t because 2012 wasn’t Dickey’s only quality season. 

Since 2010, Dickey’s had a record of 39-28 and an ERA of 2.95 in 616.2 innings pitched. Not to mention he’s the proud owner of a 1.15 WHIP and two consecutive 200-plus-inning seasons. 

In hindsight, the Blue Jays made it seem as though they were looking for a fifth starter. The misconception, though, was that the pitcher was to be a fifth-in-the-order calibre pitcher. In Dickey, Toronto is on the verge of snagging an ace. 


Although the Blue Jays have lost blue chippers Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and now possibly Anthony Gose and Travis d’Arnaud, this is a case where they have to take risks to win games. 

With the Boston Red Sox trying to sort things out and the New York Yankees getting old and creaky, the time for Toronto to spend money is now. 

Not only do they have a mixed dynamic of power and speed in the batting order, but in Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and possibly Dickey, Toronto has a chance to win every time one of those pitchers take the mound. 

Assuming the team stays healthy and plays consistently, they will be tough to beat. And although the odds are already in their favor, the only thing left to do is go out and play. 

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Toronto Blue Jays Expect Brandon Morrow to Land on DL

Brandon Morrow has been dominant this season but is in a bit of trouble once again after leaving his start after nine pitches on Monday night.

The Toronto Blue Jays ace was not able to record an out against the Washington Nationals and was removed from the game after suffering a strained oblique. According to Shi Davidi of sportsnet.ca, the Jays’ general manager Alex Anthopoulos now expects that Morrow will land on the DL due to the injury:


At this point it would take a minor miracle for Morrow to not have to miss at least two weeks. Earlier today, Mike Cormack of sportsnet.ca tweeted,


Morrow is 7-4 after receiving the hard loss luck on Monday night after only throwing nine pitches. He has three shutouts already this season and has struck out 67 batters in 77.2 innings.


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Fantasy Baseball Breakout Potential: Brandon Morrow Is More Than a Source of K

Brandon Morrow is a name we have all heard about in recent years. Whether it was the potential of being a lights-out closer in Seattle early in his career or a blow-away strikeout pitcher in Toronto, there has always been intrigue surrounding him from a fantasy perspective.

While the Mariners started his transition back to the rotation, the Toronto Blue Jays have given Morrow his true opportunity to shine in the role. He has exclusively been a starting pitcher since joining the team prior to the 2010 season, so should fantasy owners be prepared to reap the benefits of their patience?

Before we get started, let’s take a look at what he accomplished in his second full season as a starting pitcher:


  • 11 wins
  • 179.1 innings
  • 4.72 ERA
  • 1.29 WHIP
  • 203 strikeouts (10.19 K/9)
  • 69 walks (3.46 BB/9)
  • .299 BABIP


The 27-year-old has struck out 381 batters in 325.1 innings over the past two seasons, so there should be no doubt about his ability to generate swings and misses. Armed with a fastball that has averaged more than 93 mph the past two seasons, he will help to buoy fantasy owners in this regard.

The question is, can he help teams in other categories?

Morrow showed improving control last season after posting a 4.46 BB/9 over his minor league career (and a 4.06 mark in 2010). He actually was consistent all year long, so it’s hard to call it unsustainable.  Just look at the numbers over the final four months of the year:


  • June (31.0 IP): 3.19
  • July (37.0 IP): 3.16
  • August (30.2 IP): 3.23
  • September (36.2 IP): 3.68

So, we know we have elite strikeout stuff and improving control—what exactly is there not to like about Morrow? 

Sure, if you look at the numbers on the surface, the ERA would be more than enough to scare off owners. However, we can easily point to last year’s 65.5 percent strand rate as the culprit. If he had posted even just a league-average mark in that regard, the ERA would’ve been under 4.00.

Yes, there is concern regarding pitching in the difficult AL East. While he may have handled the Yankees in 2011 (1.74 ERA over 20.2 IP), the opposite can be said about the Red Sox (12.32 ERA over 19.0 IP). Can we expect those numbers to continue? It’s impossible to predict any pitcher to dominate the Yankees like that every single season, though will the Red Sox really be able to shell him again.

However, while the consistent matchups are reason to downgrade him slightly, they are not enough to completely write him off. Many pitchers have proven that they can not only pitch well in the AL East but that they can perform with the elite in the game. If you don’t want to use CC Sabathia as an example since he plays for the Yankees, how about Jon Lester or David Price? Both should enter 2012 considered among the top 15 starting pitchers in the league.

In other words, to think Morrow can’t take the next step due to the division he pitches in would be a drastic mistake. Maybe he’s not on the level of those elite pitchers, but there is reason to think he can thrive.

As we enter 2012, we no longer have to worry about an innings limit. Seeing Morrow throw more than 200 innings will be likely, and that will almost certainly mean another 200-plus strikeout campaign. If he can simply replicate last year’s control with that, his numbers are going to be impressive.

Obviously he is not going to be an early-round pick, but if you can get Morrow as a pitcher to fill out your rotation (according to Mock Draft Central, his ADP is 181.62). He’s a player I will certainly be targeting in all formats, and I would recommend you doing the same.

What are your thoughts on Morrow? Is he a player you would be willing to draft? Why or why not?

Make sure to check out our 2012 projections:

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Toronto Blue Jays: With Brandon Morrow on DL, Is a Trade Looming?

With the news that Toronto has placed pitcher Brandon Morrow on the 15-day DL with right elbow inflammation retroactive to March 22nd, the battle between Jesse Litsch and Jo-Jo Reyes for the fifth spot in the rotation is rendered moot.

Acquired from Seattle in December of 2009, Morrow has blossomed into a top-end starter and one of the crown jewels of the Blue Jays young rotation. However, this set back is a bit disconcerting regardless of the optimism coming from team officials.

“It’s one of those things where we’re being extra cautious,” says GM Alex Anthopoulos. “Really, we’re talking about him missing a start. He is adamant that he can go. We just want to let everything (in his elbow) calm down for four or five days. Why try to rush when it’s only one start.”

Going into the season now will be a rotation of Ricky Romero, Kyle Drabek (taking Morrow’s spot), Brett Cecil, Jo-Jo Reyes (currently fairing well against the Yankees as I write this) and Jesse Litsch as the fifth starter.

A silver lining to this is the opportunity for Alexopoulos and skipper John Farrell to get a longer look at Jo-Jo Reyes. Acquired with Yunel Escobar from Atlanta back on July 10, 2010, for shortstop Alex Gonzales, Reyes was sent immediately to AA but has acquitted himself well so far this spring.

A former second round pick of the Braves back in 2003, Jo-Jo was once regarded as a future rotation stalwart for Atlanta and was even their top pitching prospect as late as 2007. However, after struggling with his control and getting roughed up when pitching in the bigs his star began to dim.

Subsequently, Reyes was passed over by younger prospects like Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Kris Medlen and was deemed a AAAA player by Atlanta and thus expendable.

After his trial by fire tonight on live television versus the Yankees, Reyes has another minor league start scheduled, as well as a regular season home start against the Oakland A’s on April 5th. If Morrow does indeed return in time for his second scheduled regular season start as Anthopoulos believes, Jo-Jo has three chances to make his case for a full-time gig in Toronto, otherwise he risks being claimed on waivers as he’s out of options.

However, if the Morrow injury is worse than what’s reported and Reyes blows it then it’s conceivable that Toronto might make a move. With minor league assets like David Purcey, David Cooper, Brad Mills and Eric Thames the Jays have the chips to go get a starter.

But it won’t be Kevin Slowey, in spite of how many times mlbtraderumors.com reports it.

With his salary it just wouldn’t make sense to get a guy who’s nothing more than a stop gap. Unless Toronto adds a starter of significant enough calibre to be a fourth or fifth starter all season, like a James Shields (who’s slowly getting squeezed out in Tampa Bay), then I can’t see Anthopoulos making a knee jerk move like a trade for the soft tossing Slowey.

Update: Jo-Jo-Reyes has just wrapped up his 6th inning of a two-hit shut out ball against the powerful Yankee lineup. Purcey will probably start the 7th as he’s been warming up for the past 10 minutes. So much for those Slowey rumors.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: 10 Young Pitchers To Target On Draft Day

Most pitching coaches and baseball aficionados would agree that it takes a few years for a starting pitcher to learn what it takes to be a successful big league pitcher. As Tom Glavine explained to John Feinstein in Living on the Black, “Young pitchers know how to throw hard, but very few know how to pitch”.

When looking for a young pitcher to target late in fantasy drafts, owners should identify players who have yet to produce top level fantasy stats despite having gifted arms and a collection of filthy pitches. 

Take for example Clayton Kershaw, a 23-year-old southpaw for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first year in the majors, Kershaw was 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA and a WHIP of 1.49. Although he had excellent stuff, including a mid 90’s fastball and a knee-buckling curve, Kershaw was young and needed to learn how to pitch, and not just throw hard. 

In his third year with the Dodgers, Kershaw struck out 212 batters while posting a sub-three ERA. After taking the typical few years to learn how to be a pitcher, Kershaw is now the team’s top pitcher and is poised for a CY Young caliber season. 

Here is a list of 10 young pitchers who are poised to have a breakout season. Some of these pitchers may still be a year or two away from learning their craft; however, all of them have excellent skills and could become stars in 2011.

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Toronto Blue Jays Predictions: 10 Reasons They Can Make the Playoffs This Year

The Toronto Blue Jays have been going in the right direction ever since Alex Anthopolous took over as General Manager.  Alex Anthopolous has put great emphasis on developing young talent and has invested time and money into ensuring that the future is bright.  At the same time, AA has managed to put a fantastic product on the field that has remained competitive even in the toughest division in baseball.  

The Toronto Blue Jays have had a phenomenal offseason as they have made a ton of wonderful signings and acquisitions that have significantly improved the team.  Players like Rajai Davis and Octavio Dotel come to mind.  

The Blue Jays have a very bright future and the present isn’t too bleak either.  The Jays have a good team and have strong and talented youth ready to make the Jays a contender for years to come. 

In my mind, I believe the Jays can make the playoffs this year.  The following is ten reasons why I believe that to be true.

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MLB Power Rankings: The 25 Best Power Pitchers in Baseball

There is nothing more intimidating for a hitter than being stared down by a power pitcher who can blow a fastball right by them. Fans also get excited as these pitchers light up the radar gun and rack up the strikeouts.

The rankings on this list will be determined by a combination of the pitchers’ talents, stats and their ability to bring the heat.

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Blue Jays Interested in Kansas City’s Greinke, Gordon?

Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun reported recently that the Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has called the Kansas City Royals to inquire about ace Zack Greinke and former first-rounder Alex Gordon

Greinke, one of the majors’ best starting pitchers, and the Kansas City Royals best player, is known to be on the trade block; however the availability of Alex Gordon is unknown.

Greinke is available for a number of reasons, the first being his comments regarding the Royals status as a “rebuilding” team.  When questioned about his thoughts on Kansas City’s top-shelf minor league talent and probability to be a contender by 2013, Greinke said, “There’s no reason for me to get real excited about it, because the chance of more than one of them making a major impact by the time my contract is up is pretty slim.”

Another reason that Zack Greinke is on the trading block is that his contract is up after the 2012 season so his value is at its highest despite a ‘down year’ on the mound. 

The third reason he is clearly on the trading block is that Royals’ G.M. Dayton Moore has made comments that he is willing to listen to offers on the 2009 Cy Young winner, and asked Greinke to make the list of teams he would decline a trade to (Zack Greinke has a no-trade clause).

In the last two years Zack Greinke has thrown 449.1 innings, won 26 games, and struck out 423 batters with an ERA of 3.14, not to mention he is only 26 years old. 

More impressively, he strikes out 3.99 hitters for every free pass he issues and has thrown nine complete games, three for shutouts. 

His WAR (wins above replacement, which is a metric used to determine the wins that the player creates for their team over a minor leaguer or bench player) is an outstanding 13. 

Which puts him in the company of Roy Halladay (13.9 WAR), CC Sabathia (11.4 WAR), and Cliff Lee (13.7 WAR) over the last two seasons.

Alex Gordon is the owner of a modest .244/.328/.405 line in his three stints in major league ball, and has been positionally abused by the Royals, starting out as a third baseman, then being sent down to the minors to learn first and corner outfield.  Gordon was picked No. 2 overall in 2005, and is 26 years old, just like Greinke. 

The Blue Jays would use Gordon at third base most likely, since their 2010 third baseman was just claimed by the Athletics off waivers.  Despite Gordon’s rather pedestrian line, he is still a solid talent who can improve a lot.

So, what should the Blue Jays offer the Kansas City Royals to bring in the ace and former top draft pick? 

Dayton Moore has said that to consider moving Greinke he would need at least two top 100 prospects and a young major league pitcher.  The Jays have just such top prospects that can be considered “extra.”

If I were the Blue Jays G.M. I would offer Kansas City this package: SP Brandon Morrow, LF Travis Snider and prospects Travis D’Arnaud and Zach Stewart.

Brandon Morrow is a young flame-throwing starting pitcher who opened a lot of eyes last season in Toronto after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners

In 2010 Morrow was worth 3.7 WAR, pitched 146.1 innings and struck out an unbelievable 10.95 batters per nine.  His average fastball velocity is 94.6 MPH over his career.  Morrow is 26 years old, just like Greinke and Gordon.

Travis Snider is a young defensively challenged outfielder who, in similar at bats to Gordon, owns a .255/.318/.446 line in the pros.  He is 22 years old, was a first-round pick in 2006, and hit 14 homeruns in 2010 for the Blue Jays. 

The prospects in this deal are both blocked in Toronto by either a better prospect or a surplus at the major league level. 

The first, Travid D’Arnaud is a catcher.  Travis D’Arnaud was acquired from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay trade and is the seventh overall prospect in the Blue Jays system and a member of the top 100 prospects list. 

He is 21 years old and profiles as a steady defender and big stick (he hit 38 doubles and 13 homeruns in high A ball in 2010).  D’Arnaud is blocked by a solid catching duo on the Major league team of Jose Molina and fellow top prospect J.P. Arencibia.

The second prospect is starting pitcher Zach Stewart, who is 24 years old and almost MLB ready.  He is the third overall prospect in the Blue Jays system and is also amongst the top 100 prospects in all of the minor leagues.  He had a 3.63 ERA at double A ball in 2010 and his fastball touches 93 MPH. 

Stewart is blocked by a full rotation at the MLB level, and the top Blue Jay prospect, starting pitcher Kyle Drabek.

Drabek will be the first Blue Jay minor league pitcher to get a shot at the rotation, so Stewart has some waiting to do in Toronto before his time comes.

If Toronto wants to chase an AL East pennant in 2011, they should strongly consider making a strong offer to Kansas City, such as the one I have proposed here that will net them one of the game’s best pitchers. Zack Greinke, and a player they have their eye on, Alex Gordon.

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Toronto Blue Jays: John Farrell Signs As The Blue Jays’ 12th Manager

Alex Anthopoulos finally made it official by announcing the Blue Jays have hired John Farrell, the former pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox, to be the twelfth manager in Blue Jays history. Farrell was considered one of the best minds available. In fact Terry Francona stated it was not a question of whether he became a bench boss, or even how long (he knew it would be this year), it was a question of where.

By hiring Farrell, Anthopoulos solidifies the idea that the Blue Jays will build from within. Farrell was famous for making the Cleveland Indians farm system one of the best in baseball. This caught the eyes of the Red Sox brass and they promptly hired him as their pitching coach.

Under his tutelage some of the bright young stars of the Boston Red Sox pitching rotation were formed. This would greatly help the young pitchers the Blue Jays have on the team now (Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum, Brett Cecil etc.) but also the ones coming up through the system like Kyle Drabek, and Deck McGuire.

Anthopoulos is taking a huge risk in hiring this unproven manager. Of course it is highly unlikely a proven manager would come to the Blue Jays by leaving their current jobs. As for the ones who don’t have a job now, most of them are old and so would not be able to make as big of an impact by the time they would retire. By getting someone as young as Farrell (48) he is able to take the risk of getting a stud manager for years to come.

Lots of people are saying this is another one of those brilliant moves by Alex Anthopoulos. I tend to agree. But don’t just take my word for it. Even Manny Ramirez agrees. He claims to have been a fan of the Blue Jays since the 1980s because of all the Dominican players that they had on their teams.

Now with the addition of Farrell, whom he claims is extremely knowledgeable about the game, he is apparently considering signing with the Blue Jays. Of course one wonders at the age of 38 who really wants him, but then again this is still Manny Ramirez.

Now Farrell has to build his team. That is to say he has to decide if he keeps the current coaching staff or not. He can decide to bring in his own guys, and maybe even do the job of the pitching coach himself. I am against that as I believe it extends the manager too much and he has to be able to delegate this stuff. Furthermore, if the Jays had been able to keep their former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg there is no question he keeps him but now its all up for debate. 

Personally I think the only person safe from being fired from the coaching staff is Brian Butterfield as he has done a solid job being the third base coach. The only difference I see is that Farrell may choose to move him around to first base or maybe even hitting coach, but a man of his caliber probably has a job with this organization for quite a while.

Now that Farrell has finally been hired, the question is what’s next? The Blue Jays play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the Yankees and Red Sox spending a tonne of money on their rosters. So will Farrell be able to get the extra 11 or so wins needed to get into the postseason next year or will the Blue Jays have to keep building (Anthopoulos refuses to call this a rebuild) their team? The answer to these questions remains to be seen. 

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Top 10 Pitching Performances From the 2010 Baseball Season

In the ‘Year of the Pitcher,’ the batters never stood a chance.

There were five no-hitters thrown (but really six), including two perfect games. There were also nine one-hitters, and a major-league debut that featured 14 strikeouts by a certain Stephen Strasburg.

Several pitchers, among them Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, and Ubaldo Jiminez, have had so many jaw-dropping performances this year that they could populate this top 10 list all by themselves.

But 2010 was no ordinary year. It was the pitcher’s year.

So let’s separate the great from the truly sensational and rank the best pitching performances from this historic season. As always, share your thoughts below.

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