Pittsburgh Pirates: Revisiting Bryan Morris’s 2013 Season


A former 1st round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bryan Morris played a big role out of the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013

Here at Rum Bunter we have started to take a look back at the bullpen that helped power the Pittsburgh Pirates to the postseason in 2013. So far we have taken a look back at the contributions that Jeanmar Gomez and Justin Wilson made to the 2013 bullpen. Next up is right-handed pitcher Bryan Morris.

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Morris from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team trade at the 2008 trade deadline. Of the four players acquired in the trade that saw the Pirates send Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox, Morris proved to be the best of the bunch in Pittsburgh.

While Morris was a highly touted starting pitching prospect when the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired him, he eventually moved to the bullpen in the minor leagues. After moving to the bullpen, he would then continue to work his way up the minor league ladder before making his MLB debut in 2012.

During that 2012 season, Morris allowed just a single earned run while walking a pair and striking out six in 5 innings of work. While it was a small sample size, as was the case with the aforementioned Wilson, that small showcase helped earn Morris a spot in the team’s Opening Day bullpen in 2013.

2013 saw Morris become a bullpen stalwart for Clint Hurdle and the Pirates. He pitched 65 innings in 55 games, posting a 3.46 ERA. That postseason, Morris faced four batters in 1 inning of work in the National League Division Series. He retired three of the four batters he faced while also recording a strikeout in a scoreless inning of work.

Despite his strong ERA, Morris’s peripherals were not nearly as strong. He allowed home runs at 1.11 HR/9 clip and walked 10.4% of batters faced. Throw in a well below average 13.7% strikeout rate, and Morris owned a FIP of 4.89.

His 4.89 FIP indicated that his ERA should have been much higher. Part of the reason his ERA just 3.46 was a .251 batting average on balls in play. With a BAbip that low, he was due to regress.

Through his first 21 appearances in 2014, Morris owned a 3.80 ERA and a 5.92 FIP. He was allowing 1.52 HR/9, walking batters 11.7% of the time, and his strikeout rate was a porous 13.6%. With Morris’s peripherals continuing to be bad, the Pirates shipped to the Miami Marlins on June 1, 2014.

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In exchange for Morris, the Pirates received the 39th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. That pick is something we will get into in further detail later this week. While Morris’s peripherals were never pretty and he was traded away in June 2014, he still played a key role in the Pittsburgh Pirates postseason bound bullpen in 2013.