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prospect-profile-charlie-morton | December | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

Prospect Profile: Charlie Morton

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I feel I have to write something about Morton due to the amount of press he has received lately. The Braves selected Morton in the third round of the 2002 Draft out of Joel Barlow High School (Barlow is in the same athletic conference as my high school) in Redding, Connecticut. He was fairly well regarded coming out of high school due to his projectability, biting fastball, and good curve. Morton made his pro debut in the GCL and while he showed off some of his talent, a walk rate that approached seven per nine innings made for a pretty disappointing start. The next season, Morton again played short-season with Danville and while his control improved, he became a bit more hittable, leading to another lackluster year. In 2004, Morton played his first full season of pro baseball with Rome. His command took a step back and while his strikeout rate was pretty good, he gave up 140 hits in 117.1 innings.  The next two years he would split between Rome and Myrtle Beach and they effectively took him off the prospect map. His ERA over those two seasons never didn't dip below 5.20 as his strikeout rate dropped below seven per nine innings. Despite all the positive press, we've still got to remember that Morton was very much the same player for the majority of this year. Pitching primarily out of the bullpen this past season, Morton's WHIP never dropped below 1.56 until the last month of the season, when he posted a 1.31 WHIP, and even then it wasn't much to write home about. Morton, however, did allow only a .244 BAA in August and carried that strong performance to the AFL I assume most of you know the rest of the story by now. Morton pitched well in the AFL and on his 24th birthday, in front of Frank Wren and Bobby Cox, pitched a five inning no-hitter, drawing rave reviews. Morton was one of three pitchers added to the 40-man roster recently and the most likely of the three to make an impact this season. Through his very mediocre pro career, Morton has always been able to get ground balls, however lately the reports are that he has been more trusting in his ability to throw any pitch in any count, which has led to the success. At 6'5", Morton gets a lot of leverage on his pitches, leading to the downward movement on his fastball, which sits in the 94-97 mph range. He compliments the fastball with a great curve and finishes out his repertoire with  a changeup and slider, which are both at best average pitches. Morton has a good chance at a productive major league career, however that will likely be out of the pen. He'll benefit a lot from being able to drop the changeup and slider, working solely with his two best pitches. He has an outside chance of making the opening day bullpen, but will more than likely be one of the first call-ups if someone goes down next year.
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