2011 Prospect Watching: Owens, Morris, Locke, and More

Bryan Morris  —  Bats Left / Throws Right;  6′ 3″,  200 lb
Morris came to the Pirates in 2008 from the Dodgers (Jason Bay trade), where he’d been their first round pick in 2006.  He had Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the 2007 season.  After the trade in 2008, he made just 3 starts at A level Hickory, then missed more time due to shoulder problems.  Shoulder issues, along with toe surgery, also kept Morris off the field in the beginning of 2009.  He did finally get to pitch in early June, and made 15 starts for A+ Lynchburg, earning a 4-9 record and a 5.57 ERA, with 45 earned runs and 87 hits in 72.2 innings.  He walked 34 and struck out 32 that season.  For Morris, the lightbulb turned on in 2010.  He began the season in Bradenton, where he made 8 starts.  He gave up 2 runs in the second start and one run in the third start, and no more earned runs after that.  In 44.2 innings, he allowed 37 hits, 7 walks, and struck out 40, with a 3-0 record and a microscopic 0.60 ERA.  Morris was promoted to Altoona in mid-May, and gave up 4 runs and 15 hits in 15 innings (3 starts) for a 2.40 ERA that month.  He had a rough outing in mid-June, when he allowed 8 runs in 5 innings, but gave up 5 runs over 23.2 innings for the rest of the month.  Morris had 3 tough starts in July, allowing 14 runs in 17.2 innings (7.13 ERA), but recovered in August/Sept with 11 runs in 25.2 innings (3.86 ERA), including three relief appearances.  Morris also pitched in a relief role in two of the Curve’s playoff games.  He threw two scoreless innings in the first-round game, and gave up one run in one inning in the championship round.  Morris just turned 24 years old this week.  He was also added to the Pirates’ 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.  He’s still working on the newest version of his mechanics, which the Pirates hope will put less stress on his shoulder.  Like Locke and Owens, Morris will likely report to Altoona to begin the 2011 season, but he should be up in Indianapolis later in the season, with a chance at the big club at the end of the year.  

Daniel Moskos  —  Bats Right / Throws Left;  6′ 1″,  210 lb
Moskos was the Pirates’ first round draft pick in the 2007 draft.  He had pitched as both a starter and a reliever in college, and did both again in the lower levels of the organization, without impressive results.  Moskos was almost exclusively a starter for Altoona in 2009, and he did a little better at the end of the season.  He returned to Altoona to begin the 2010 season, but this time was declared the closer, and worked exclusively in relief — and it was his turn to have the light bulb go on.  He buzzed through the month of April, allowing one run on 7 hits in 11 innings (8 appearances) for a 0.82 ERA and 5 saves.  In May, he gave up 3 runs on 7 hits in 11.2 innings (11 appearances), and though his ERA popped up to 2.31, he still picked up another 6 saves.  He added 6 more saves in 9 appearances in June, giving up one earned run and another 7 hits in 8.1 innings, for a 1.08 ERA.  That was a 1.45 ERA and 17 saves in 31 innings for the Curve, and it earned Moskos a promotion to Indianapolis.  However, in Indy, things were different.  He made 19 relief appearances, for a total of 17.1 innings, and earned an 0-5 record with one save, but a 10.38 ERA.  His first 10 outings were fine, allowing 2 earned runs on 10 hits over 9.2 innings (1.86 ERA).  Then it seemed that Moskos’ light bulb was turned off.  He gave up 18 earned runs on 16 hits in 7.2 innings for his next 9 appearances, and overall he walked more batters than he struck out for the Indians.  Moskos was returned to Altoona, and the power came back on:  2 runs on 5 hits in 10.1 innings in the rest of the regular season (1.74 ERA), with 4 more saves.  Moskos was also the closer for the Curve in the playoffs.  He got into two games in the first round and four in the championship round, earning the save in all but one appearance, as he gave up only 2 hits and no runs in all 6 games.  Moskos, who will turn 25 in a few weeks, was also placed onto the Pirates’ 40-man roster last fall.  He should begin the 2011 season in Indianapolis, with a possibility of moving up to Pittsburgh later in the season, if he can maintain his control and repeat last season’s success.  

Daniel McCutchen —  R/R,  6′ 2″,  195 lb
McCutchen was the Yankees’ 13th round pick in the 2006 draft, and he was traded to the Pirates in July 2008 in the deal that involved Jose Tabata and Ross Ohlendorf.  He finished the 2008 season with Indianapolis, then pitched at the AAA level for almost all of 2009.  His second half of the season was much better than the earlier part of the season, and at the end of August, he made his major league debut with the Pirates, making 6 starts.  McCutchen bounced between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh during the 2010 season.  He began in Pittsburgh and made 3 starts and one relief appearance, but gave up a lot of runs, including 5 homers.  He was sent to Indy in late April, and made 10 starts, with a little time on the DL with arm fatigue.  McCutchen allowed 26 earned runs in 60.2 innings (3.86 ERA), including 7 homers, with a 4-5 record for the Indians through the end of June.  He was recalled to Pittsburgh and made 3 more starts (1-2 record, 9 hits in 16.1 innings and 5 homers), then was sent to Indianapolis again.  Three more starts in Indy, with 3 runs allowed in each of 3 losses, and a total of 18.1 innings and 5 more homers.  McCutchen went back to Pittsburgh to stay at the end of July, but this time he worked mostly in relief (3 spot starts).  He gave up 15 runs in 23.2 innings (5.79 ERA) in the relief appearances, with most of those runs coming in the last 6 appearances.  McCutchen was optioned to Indianapolis to begin the 2011 season, and he may find himself on the Indy-Pittsburgh shuttle again this season.  He needs to stop giving up so many home runs and increase his strikeout rate in order to stay with the Pirates more permanently.  

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