I checked out some pitch f/x for Charlie Morton’s two seam fastball, otherwise known as his sinker. I compared the pitch from last year to this year. What I found was a bit surprising, because the pitch seems to be moving about the same. Here’s the data.
According this data, the pitch has more vertical movement on it this year, which is probably opposite of what you thought. I’m not sure how this data could be wrong, either. The difference is the velocity. He’s throwing it 1.5 miles per hour slower this year, which could have something to do with the lack of results he’s seeing this year, but I’m not sure how much. The spin angle and rate are basically the same, if that means anything to you.
The results of the pitches shows a bit more discrepancy. He’s throwing it less this year and throwing it in the strike zone more often. That’s normally a good thing, but in this case I’m not sure. You would probably rather have a pitch like that start in the strike zone but eventually end up low. You’re going to get a lot of swings on balls with a pitch with that much much movement, so Morton would probably be better off throwing it for strikes less often. Hitters are swing at it more this year and whiffing less while putting it in play more.
It’s simply an easier pitch to hit this year, and we’ve seen that fully. I think if anything it’s the location of the pitch. He needs to get it lower in the zone and throw it for a low ball more often. He’ll still get a bunch of swings but it’ll be tougher to get the ball elevated off the bat. Hitters have had no trouble hitting the sinker into the outfield, and they’re making Morton look like a AAA pitcher right now.
According to the data, the stuff Morton has on the pitch isn’t to blame, just his execution of it. That might not be completely true, but it’s an interesting thing to see.