Phillies Cy Yuk Award: Adam Morgan Slowly Frustrating Fans

Sep 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Adam Morgan (39) throws a pitch during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Adam Morgan (39) throws a pitch during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

In a Phillies season during which starting pitching showed signs of improvement and excitement, Adam Morgan showed regression and frustration.

The Philadelphia Phillies do not have many team components on which to hang their proverbial hats as we enter the offseason. However, the young starting pitching showed promise throughout an otherwise difficult season. Despite injuries to Aaron Nola and Zack Eflin, the Phils treated fans to encouraging glimpses from Vince Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff. Jeremy Hellickson pitched very effectively from start to (near) finish.

However, one pitcher seemed to go in the wrong direction over the lengthy course of the 2016 baseball season. Sadly, that pitcher was Adam Morgan. I say “sadly” because Morgan is a guy every fan was pulling for after his difficult path to the majors finally ended last season with a brief taste of success in 15 starts.

Morgan, who was effective during the spring, did not make the team out of camp in favor of Velasquez. It was easy to sense that with the first sign of injury, Morgan would get the call.  However, the lefty took the demotion with a sense of disappointment and headed to Lehigh Valley where he spoke to reporters.  Tom Housenick of the Morning Call reported that Morgan said:

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"“I don’t want to fall victim to becoming one of those guys who thinks he deserves this or that…I’ve got to go out and force their hand.It’s just one of those things you have to swallow and keep going.”"

As soon as Charlie Morton’s season was ended with a torn hamstring, Morgan received his call.

After a solid start to his season in AAA with the Iron Pigs, the Phils had hope he would be able to carry his momentum to the big club. Simply put, the success just never translated during the season.

After making eleven starts, it was obvious that Morgan’s progression as a starter was not moving in the right direction. In five of those starts, Morgan allowed five or more runs, and with an offense as anemic as the Phils had this year, that simply could not happen. It is no wonder they could only win two of those eleven starts.

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A move to the bullpen was short-lived when he was forced to make a spot start before the All-Star break because of a mental break for Nola. In that start, the southpaw was tattooed for six runs on nine hits in Colorado. The team sent Morgan back to AAA until the middle of August.  He made five more starts, pitched 26.1 innings, and gave up 30 hits and 16 earned runs in that time.

Looking deeper at Morgan’s season, it appears as though he should be an after thought when they are sorting out their forty man roster for the upcoming season.

With the big club this year, he walked nearly 2.5 batters per nine innings, while hitters posted a collective .298 average against him. He surrendered 1.83 homers per nine innings and his left on base percentage sat at a lowly 68.8% in 2016.

Morgan had some comparable stats that were eye-popping. In 113.1 innings, he gave up 141 hits.  Cubs starter, Kyle Hendricks gave up one more hit in 190 innings. Of those hits, 23 were round-trippers, which ranked him 17th in all of baseball, tied with Zack Greinke, John Lackey, and Jorge De La Rosa (all of whom pitched more than 130 innings).

Next: Phillies Cy Young Award: Workhorse Jerad Eickhoff

Because of his control, Morgan was able to limit his walks, but since he does not throw with great velocity, mistakes were hit all over the ballpark. It was a season in which the Phillies were looking for players to come up and take hold of a spot for the future. Morgan was presented with a golden opportunity to take hold of a rotation spot at the beginning of April and could never quite keep the grip.