Besides Kenley Jansen, Brandon Morrow was far and away the Dodgers best and most reliable reliever this year. The hard-throwing right-hander, who is now a free agent, has scribed his name amongst the game’s most elite bullpen arms.
Brandon Morrow was nothing short of electric from the moment he was called up until the season ended. Before the 2017 season, Brandon Morrow was a free agent looking for a new team to call home. After not receiving any major league offers, the Dodgers offered Morrow a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
After signing with the Dodgers, the expectation could not have been more than to serve as minor league depth. If they really needed him, Morrow was there to be used, but I can not imagine any scenario where Morrow was signed as the future eighth-inning setup man.
If he were not called up by May 30th, Morrow would have been able to walk from the team in pursuit of a new contract. So, to prevent this, the Dodgers added Morrow to the roster on May 29th and disappointed he did not.
This year, Morrow pitched 43.2 innings stretched across 45 games. He had an ERA of just 2.06 and an undefeated record of 6-0. In those 43.2 innings, he struck out 50 batters against only nine walks. Morrow’s WHIP was also phenomenal sitting at .916. But, perhaps more impressive than the traditional pitching stats is his ERA+. ERA+ is an ERA adjusted to the ballparks a pitcher has pitched in. A score of 100 is considered league average and Morrow finished the regular season with an ERA+ of 206.
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Looking forward to next year is a tough prediction to make. Morrow was as effective as they come and that could be why we don’t see him in blue next year. Brandon, who is now 33 years-old, could easily land a contract of two to three years and could very well make $9 million or more a season. If that is the case, the Dodgers could choose to pass on extending him a new deal.
But, Morrow has made it quite clear that he wants to return to LA and that could work in the team’s favor when trying to resign the highly coveted free agent. If I were forced to make a prediction though, I would probably tell you he will be back next year and for two more years after that.
As for my favorite moment, there is almost no way to pick one. Morrow was sensational all year, and he rarely wavered in his dominance. But, since pick I must, I’ll go with Morrow’s first save as a Dodger. On August 24, against the Pirates, Brandon Morrow pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first career save as a Dodger. He retired the side in short order and struck out Jose Osuna for the final out of the game.
The grade for Morrow’s season is an easy A+. During both the regular season and the postseason, Morrow was a force to be reckoned with from the bullpen, and he easily earned the A+. The biggest concern is not the grade he received but rather if he will be back or not next season. Without Morrow in the bullpen, the Dodgers are left with a huge hole to fill for the back end of games.