Last night, Bryan Morris came on in relief for the Altoona Curve, pitching one inning. In that inning, Morris allowed one earned run on two hits, with a walk and a strikeout. The run was significant, because it was the first earned run Morris had allowed in ten outings since being moved full time to the bullpen.
Since his move to relief, Morris has pitched 18 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on 12 hits, with a 20:6 K/BB ratio. The performance in the bullpen has been somewhat amazing for Morris, if only because of how much he struggled in the starting role. Morris allowed 17 earned runs in 25.1 innings as a starter this year, for a 6.04 ERA. He also had a 17:16 K/BB ratio in that role. As a reliever, he has a 1.27 ERA in 28.1 innings, with a 27:7 K/BB ratio.
The switch was instant. Morris went from struggling as a starter, to immediately having success as a reliever a week later. Pirates Prospects reader Dave Morris (no relation) noted earlier in the week that Morris was working 91-94 MPH, touching 96 with his fastball, and also displaying his plus curveball in his outing last week in Erie.
Morris is on the 40-man roster, and after this year would have one option year remaining. It might be a smart idea for the Pirates to give him a September call-up, to see if he can carry this bullpen success over to the Major League level. He’s definitely got a Major League arm, and the combination of his fastball and his curveball would allow him to have success in the majors as a reliever. Giving him a shot in September might be a bit of an aggressive push for a guy who was struggling as a starter in AA about a month ago. However, with all of his injuries, Morris is to the point where he’s running out of time on the 40-man roster, making an aggressive push somewhat necessary.