I’m not sure who we saw last year, but it sure-as-shootin’ wasn’t Brandon Morrow. Just 7.80 K/9 with a 2.96 BB/9? No, that’s not Morrow. That’s Ryan Dempster!
So what the heck happened? Well, he completely changed the way he approached batters. Prior to last year, Morrow pretty much did one of two things against opponents: rear back and try to throw his 94-mph four-seamer by batters or try to fool them with his plus slider. While Morrow’s slider rated as an above average pitch in both 2010 and 2011, his first two full-ish seasons), his four-seam fastball was slightly below average.
Intuitively, this isn’t surprising. When your out pitch is a darting 87-mph slider, that’s good, but when your other pitch is just seven mph faster and moves as much as Shonn Greene running up the middle, that’s bad.
Last year Morrow changed things up. He still used his four-seamer with almost the same frequency, but he dropped his slider usage and started mixing in the very occasional cut fastball and si...