Back in 2010, the Blue Jays were loaded with a number of talented young pitchers, and Brandon Morrow, then 25-years old had as much talent as any of them.
With such a young group of quality pitchers that included Morrow, Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch, Kyle Drabek, and Dustin McGowan, it looked as if Toronto’s starting rotation would be set for years to come. Sadly though, Romero lost his way, while Litsch, Drabek, McGowan, and Morrow’s time with the Blue Jays would be cut far too short due to injuries.
With an imposing fastball that touched 98 MPH regularly, along with a variety of nasty off-speed pitches, Morrow was considered one of the most promising young pitchers in the game between 2010-2012. Unfortunately for him, while with the Blue Jays, he just couldn’t remain healthy. And after two injury riddled seasons in 2013 and 2014 where he started just 16 games, it appeared as if his career in the big leagues was nearing the end. As every failed starter with immense talent should do though, Morrow would end up making the transition to the bullpen in 2016 while a member of the San Diego Padres, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Morrow’s resurgence has been so successful these past two seasons, that not only has he established himself as an excellent reliever, he’s also risen through the ranks of the Dodgers bullpen (where he signed this off-season) to become the set-up man for Kenley Jansen in a very deep and talented LA bullpen. In 2017, Morrow was 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA and 0.916 WHIP, while pitching 43.2 innings.
Many Blue Jay fans always knew that if Morrow could ever remain healthy long enough that the sky truly was the limit for him. For whatever reason though, whether it be a string of bad luck, or simply the fact that it’s so difficult for a starting pitcher who throws upwards of 100 MPH to stay healthy, he just couldn’t stay off the DL while he was a starter. What he’s proven, and this should become a far more common occurrence with the increased importance that’s being placed on bullpens in today’s game, is that if you can’t make it as a starter (whatever the reason may be), there’s still plenty you can contribute out of the bullpen in a reduced and far less physically demanding role.