Projection #10: Charlie Morton

I was able to find just two pitchers, who, over the last 14 seasons, were comparable to Charlie Morton. Tim Stauffer of the San Diego Padres and Chien-Ming Wang. And even they  weren’t all that close.

Wang was 90.6% comparable to Morton and Stauffer was 82.0% comparable.

Charlie Morton, over his last three seasons, from ages 27 through 29, walked 3.3 batters per 9 innings, struck-out 5.9 per 9IP, and allowed 0.5 home runs per nine innings. He had an extraordinary groundball rate of 59.6%.

Stauffer, at ages 27 through 29, had 2.9 BB/9, 6.4K/9, 0.8 HR/9, and a groundball rate of 50.8%.

Wang had 3.0 BB/9, 5.0 K/9, 0.5 HR/9, and a groundball rate of 56.8% at ages 27 through 29.

Stauffer only pitched 5 innings in his age-30 season. He was converted into a reliever at 31 and pitched 69 innings with a 3.75 ERA and 3.20 xFIP.

Wang did not pitch at age 30. He had a 4.17 xFIP in his age-31 season.

Here is my projection for Charlie Morton in 2014, his age-30 season:

IP: 160

BB/9: 3.2

K/9:  6.1

HR/9: 0.5

WHIP: 1.42

xFIP/ERA: 3.86

WAR: 2.6

If I could honestly predict that Morton would not hit any batters in 2014, I would bring his xFIP/ERA projection down to 3.56. But 31 hitters failed to get out of the way of one of Charlie’s pitches in the last three seasons.And I don’t suspect that National League hitters will become better duckers this year.

I joke, but Morton’s “plunkiness” is likely to add about 5 runs to his total in 2014, costing him an estimated 0.5 WAR.

Morton’s average walk rate, low strikeout rate, and league-leading groundball percentage may be an unusual combination, but, for him, it has been effective. His projected 3.86 xFIP would make him a solid #3 starter, according to the conclusions of this post.


96 thoughts on “Projection #10: Charlie Morton

  1. I appreciate your blog; welcome to the family of Pirates’ blogs.

    I don’t have much interest in this world of sabernomics; I go back to the days of the1960s, when the big three stats for both pitching and batting were the norm.

    That said, the data base that I follow in-season is I love to see where our pitchers rank. It seems to be a thorough comparison, at every position.

    This site has the following 2013 rankings, using the multiples of 30 (no. of teams) to determine five levels of starters.

    Liriano ranked #13 (solid no.1); AJ ranked 43; Cole was ranked 58 (two no. 2 starters); Locke was 62nd and Morton 82nd (both no. 3 starters). SO, the Bucs starters graded out at one no.1, two no.2 and two no.3.

    We do not know the composite factors of this analysis, but it presents an interesting comparison to your ranking.

    Any thoughts?

    • Thanks for reading my blog even though you don’t have much interest in saber stats. I want my site to be accessible to people who haven’t had interest in these numbers and don’t want to get too heavy into the math. That’s why my heading says “and translating it into English.”

      Like you, I go back to the days of the late 1960′s and have loved baseball stats since the Baseball Encyclopedia was given to me as a gift when I was 7 or 8 years old – long before sabermetrics.

      Regarding the pitcher rankings. According to xFIP, I had Burnett, Liriano, and Cole as #1 starters last year, Morton as a #2, and Locke as a #4.

      I hope you will keep reading and don’t hesitate to let me know when you disagree. You might change my mind.

  2. “I don’t have much interest in this world of sabernomics; I go back to the days of the1960s, when the big three stats for both pitching and batting were the norm”

    I don’t either NorCal , which got me to thinking how important is it to the average fan . I watch a lot of baseball games and quite frankly never think about what the pitchers xFIP is . I am concerned with his era and what kinds of and how well he throws them . I may change my mind if I was a GM but for the even a rabid fan I personally think they are way over rated .

  3. Well it looks like you guys better catch up in it. The pirates use it to evaluate their players and free agents. Even baseball is getting into it with its changes to gold glove awards. I think home runs, batting average, and RBI are the silliest way to determine how good a player. There is so much more we can use to really get an idea of how well a player hits, fields, and runs the bases.

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