Sunday, November 25, 2012

#25 Pirates Prospect - Bryan Morris

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects   
#25 - Bryan Morris

Measurables: 6'3, 200
Bats: L, Throws: R
Position: P
Acquired: Trade (for Jason Bay from the Dodgers)
Bonus: $1,350,000
DOB: 03/28/1987
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked


Bryan Morris started his pro career after being drafted by the Dodgers in the first round in 2006 after one year at Motlow State Community College.  He manged to pitch 59.2 innings for the Dodgers in Rookie Ball, with a strong strikeout rate.  That was the one positive as Morris also had a high WHIP due to control issues. Overall, Morris pitched 59.2 innings, posting a 11.9 K/9, 6.0 BB/9, 9.7 H/9, and a 5.13 ERA.


Morris unfortunately sat out all of the 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery.


Morris pitched the entire 2008 season at Low-A.  Half of Morris's season was in the Dodgers organization where he pitched reasonably.  However, Morris moved to the Pirates organization at the trade deadline in exchange for Jason Bay in a three way trade between Pittsburgh, Boston, and Los Angeles.   After the move, Morris had a poor showing for the Low-A Hickory Crawdads.  Overall, Morris pitched 96.0 innings, posting a 7.8 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 8.5 H/9, and a 3.47 ERA across 2 organizations.


In 2009, Morris had a terrible year in High-A, as he was injured, in disciplinary trouble, and his statistical performance was poor.  Despite that, Morris still displayed very good stuff; his mechanics were just in a funk. Overall, Morris pitched 72.2 innings, putting up a horrible 4.0 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, and a 8.3 H/9, resulting in a 5.57 ERA. 


In 2010, Morris again started at the High-A level and had an excellent 8 starts, resulting in a quick promotion.  In those 8 starts, Morris pitched 44.2 innings, posting a 8.1 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, and 7.5 H/9 to go along with a sparkling 0.60 ERA.  At Double-A, Morris pitched 89.0 innings, posting a 8.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 8.8 H/9, resulting in a 4.25 ERA.  Overall, Morris pitched 133.2 innings, posting a 8.3 K/9, a 2.6 BB/9, and a 8.3 H/9, resulting in a 3.03 ERA. Morris finally had a great year in the Pirates organization, revitalizing his prospect status.


Morris entered the 2011 season surrounded by high hopes.  The belief was Morris was on his way to becoming a mid-rotation starter with perhaps even a bit more upside, the vision the Pirates had when they traded for him in 2008.  Early struggles in the rotation - on both sides of an oblique injury - as a 24 year-old at AA caused the Pirates to move Morris to the bullpen, where he posted good strikeout numbers, although he showed control issues.  Morris finished the year with a 3.35 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and a 3.8 BB/9 in 78.0 innings.  In relief, Morris was much better, posting a 2.05 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 8.0 K/9.


Morris began the 2012 season fully entrenched in the bullpen. Morris produced excellent numbers in AAA, pitching 81.0 innings and finishing the year with a 2.56 ERA.  In addition, Morris posted a 8.8 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and a 8.4 H/9, all excellent peripheral ratios.   At this point, Morris, who will turn 26 in March, has nothing left to prove in the minors.  He's poised to be a useful bullpen option that could find himself pitching further towards the end of games and in more high-leverage situations as he gains experience, all on the back of his fastball which sits in the mid 90's.  There's also an outside chance Morris could close if the situation arises.  Either way, Morris's upside has eroded over the years, but he should still be a useful player over the next several seasons.


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