The Greatest Hits of Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Wizard Ray Searage

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Charlie Morton

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Morton is still something of an enigma to many Pirates’ fans. Read twitter during any Charlie Morton start and you will about as split of a reaction as any pitcher in all of baseball. Despite the sometimes fan backlash, Charlie Morton might be Ray Searage’s greatest success story.

The Pirates acquired Morton in the Nate McLouth trade and at first, it looked like a huge failure for the Pirates. Morton put up disastrous numbers in 2008 and 2009. 2010 was the absolute low point for Charlie Morton as he may have been the worst starting pitcher in all of baseball.

One great thing happened to Morton in 2010, Ray Searage became his pitching coach. Between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Morton adopted the two-seam fastball and used it in place of the standard four-seam and the results were immediate. When his two-seem fastball (or sinker) is on, it’s one of the most difficult pitches to hit in all of baseball. The numbers speak for themselves.

WAR Totals before Searage: 2008: -1.0; 2009: 0.6; 2010: -2.3

WAR Totals w/Searage: 2011: 1.9; 2013: 0.5; 2014: 0.4; 2015: 0.3 *in progress

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*Ray Searage took over as pitching coach towards the end of the 2010 season.

  • Early in career he threw the standard 4-seem fastball with very little success.
    • 2009: .320AVG/.409OBP/.470SLG/.879OPS/151wRC+
    • 2010: .322AVG/.422OBP/.467SLG/.889OPS/152wRC+
  • 2011 added a 2-seem fastball to his pitching repertoire.
    • 2011 MLB hit: .117AVG/.179OBP/.155SLG/.334OPS/6wRC+
    • 2012, Morton missed most of the season with an injury.
    • 2013 MLB hit: .139AVG/.209OBP/.198SLG/.407OPS/31wRC+

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