Charlie Morton (pitcher)

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Charlie Morton
Charlie Morton on May 30, 2011.jpg
Pittsburgh Pirates – No. 50
Pitcher
Born: (1983-11-12) November 12, 1983 (age 30)
Flemington, New Jersey
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 14, 2008 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
(through July 13, 2014)
Win–loss record 35–58
Earned run average 4.47
Strikeouts 489
WHIP 1.45
Teams

Charles Alfred Morton (born November 12, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. He stands at 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) and weighs in at 230 pounds (100 kg).

High school[edit]

Morton attended Joel Barlow High School, located in Redding, Connecticut.

Professional career[edit]

Morton with the Atlanta Braves in 2008.

Atlanta Braves[edit]

Morton was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 3rd round (95th overall) of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. He started his pro career in 2002 with the GCL Braves. In 2003, he played for the Danville Braves. He spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the Rome Braves. In 2006, he pitched for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. In 2007, he pitched for the Mississippi Braves.

Morton was added to the 40-man roster by the Braves on November 20, 2007.[1] Morton made his major league debut on June 14, 2008, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings, earning his first Major League win in the process.[2][3] On June 3, 2009, the Braves traded Morton with Gorkys Hernández and Jeff Locke to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Nate McLouth.[4]

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

On June 3, 2009, the Braves traded Morton with Gorkys Hernández and Jeff Locke to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Nate McLouth.[4]

On June 10, 2009, he made his first start with the Pirates, pitching an inning against the Atlanta Braves, while Jeff Karstens got the win. On June 28, 2009, he received his first decision, a loss to the Kansas City Royals. On July 3, 2009, he won his first game, pitching 6 innings of 1 hit ball against the Florida Marlins. On July 18, 2009, against the San Francisco Giants, he pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 hits and no runs with 6 strikeouts. On September 30, 2009, he pitched a complete game 4 hitter with 8 strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs. His 2009 record in 18 starts was 5 wins and 9 losses, a 4.55 ERA, 97 innings pitched and 62 strikeouts, 40 walks, 7 home runs, 5 hit batsmen, .276 average against, and a 1.46 WHIP.

Morton broke 2010 spring training as a member of the Pirates' starting rotation. He made his first start of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 9, 2010 and struck out the first five hitters he faced, but gave up 8 earned runs in just 3 13 innings pitched. As the season progressed, Morton continued to struggle, losing all five starts in April and finished the month with a 12.57 ERA. However, Morton delivered a promising performance on April 30, 2010 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, striking out 8 in six innings of work while allowing six runs (only three earned) but was dealt a loss as the Pirates only provided him with two runs of support. "I thought he threw the ball well," Pirates manager John Russell said. "If we catch the ball that one inning, it might have been a different story. He probably should have gotten out of that [3rd] inning with no runs."[5]

Morton earned his first win of the season on May 5, 2010 against the Chicago Cubs, striking out three in a 4–2 decision. However, he could not build on the win and lost each of his next four starts, dropping his record on the season to 1–9 with a 9.35 ERA. A day after suffering his 9th loss against the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates placed him on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue. He was sent to the Pirates spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida for rehabilitation.[6] After completing his rehabilitation, which included meeting with a sports psychologist, he was assigned to the Pirates Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis Indians.

Speaking before his first start with the Indians, Morton said "I was pressing. I wasn't being myself on the mound those last couple times I went out there in Pittsburgh. There was so much going on in my mind. At the end of last year, I finished strong, I got a glimpse of what I could do, truly, in the big leagues, going out there and going deep into games, being competitive, being someone who was pretty good. I wanted to be out there for myself and because I care about this team and organization. At the same time, though, after that last one, that last start, because I care about these guys is why, exactly, I knew I couldn't go back out there again."[7]

On June 24, 2010, he earned his first win in AAA since returning from the DL, pitching a complete game with four strikeouts against the Durham Bulls.

When starter Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a shoulder injury, the Pirates recalled Morton to take his place in the rotation. He started on August 29, 2010 against the Milwaukee Brewers giving up 8 runs in 3.1 innings. After two months in Triple-A, Morton compiled a record of 4–4 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched.[8]

On his final start of the 2010 season, Morton compiled his finest pitching performance of the year, striking out a career-high 9 batters in a 2-0 loss to the Florida Marlins on October 2. He pitched 6 strong innings while only walking one, but the start yielded no reward as he was handed his 12th loss of the season. "For a while now, I've been wishing it could go on," Morton said of the 2010 season. "Those first two months felt like two years, but this has been so much more enjoyable. I know I can go out there and not just compete but succeed. That's what makes it tough to just walk away from here tonight."[9] Morton finished the season with a 2-12 record with a 7.57 ERA, but in his final six starts of the season after being recalled in late August, he sported a 4.26 ERA.

2011 was Morton's best season, going 10–10 in 29 starts with a 3.83 ERA, earning the club's Breakout Player of the Year.[10]

On April 15, 2011, Morton threw a complete game at the Cincinnati Reds, giving up a solo-home run and 4 other hits while striking out 3. On May 18, 2011, again at Great American Ball Park, Morton threw a complete game-shutout, striking out 5 and giving up 5 hits.[11]

Morton underwent successful hip surgery to repair a torn labrum in October 2011, with a full recovery expected in 4–6 months. He was optimistic to return before Opening Day.[12] However, he began the 2012 season on the disabled list, making his season debut on April 14, 2012. He was eventually knocked out for the 2012 season after having to undergo Tommy John surgery on June 14, 2012.[13]

On June 13, 2013, Morton was activated off the DL due to AJ Burnett suffering a calf injury. Morton made his 2013 debut against the San Francisco Giants. Morton pitched 5 innings, striking out 5 and walking 1. Morton gave up 4 runs (2 earned) and received a loss. The Pirates went on to lose the game, 10–0. Morton picked up his first win of the season on June 18th against the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched 5 13 innings giving up only 3 hits and no runs, while striking out 2. The Pirates went on to win the game, 4–0, this was the Pirates 12th team shutout of the season. On July 22nd and 27th Charlie won back to back games for the first time since May 7th and 18th of 2011. On July 22, he pitched 6 23 giving up 3 earned runs while striking out 5 earning the win against the Washington Nationals. On July 27, he went five innings giving up 4 runs (3 earned) and striking out 6 Miami Marlins.

On December 11, 2013, Morton signed a three-year contract to remain with the Pirates, with a club option for the 2017 season.[14]

Scouting report[edit]

Morton's repertoire consisted in 2013 of a four-seam fastball (93–95 mph), a sinker (92–94 mph), a curveball (78–80 mph), and a split-finger fastball (84–88 mph).[15] Morton picked up the splitter in 2011, having previously thrown a changeup. He also has previously thrown a slider and a cutter.[16] Morton's sinker was his most common pitch, especially against right-handed hitters. His curveball was his most common pitch with 2 strikes.[17]

Due to the changes in his delivery and the emphasis he has placed on the sinker, Morton has spawned comparisons to the Philadelphia Phillies' two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay.[18] Pirates special assistant Jim Benedict had previously encouraged Morton to emulate Halladay's delivery during spring training. Morton has featured his new sinker almost exclusively in his first starts of the 2011 season, resulting in an increased groundball rate but also more bases on balls. Pirates' fans have christened him with the nickname "Ground Chuck."[19][20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Braves add three players to 40-man roster
  2. ^ Morton set for Major League debut
  3. ^ Rookies Morton, Jones help beat Halos
  4. ^ a b Braves Acquire Outfielder Nate McLouth from Pittsburgh
  5. ^ "Dodgers bounce back with win over Pirates". ESPN. 2010-04-30. 
  6. ^ "Pirates place pitcher Morton on DL". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2010-05-28. 
  7. ^ Dunlap, Colin (2010-06-14). "Pirates' Morton getting his head together". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  8. ^ Dejan Kovacevic (2010-08-28). "Pirates recalling Morton to start tomorrow". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  9. ^ Dejan Kovacevic (2010-10-03). "Revived Morton wishes Pirates' season 'could go on'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  10. ^ Langosch, Jenifer. "Andrew McCutchen, Joel Hanrahan, Charlie Morton earn 2011 honors". MLB.com. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Langosch, Jenifer. "Charlie Morton undergoes successful hip surgery". MLB.com. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Charlie Morton has elbow surgery". June 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ Twitter / Pirates: #Pirates today signed RHP Charlie Morton to a three-year contract with a club option for 2017. Morton was 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 2013.
  15. ^ "Player Card: Charlie Morton". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Player Card: Charlie Morton". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Player Card: Charlie Morton". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Chicago-Cubs-Starlin-Castro-Darwin-Barney-promising-news-and-notes-041811
  19. ^ Pittsburgh Pirates: Charlie Morton Is the Real Deal in the Rotation
  20. ^ Cardinals get to Morton in 10-7 win over Pirates
  21. ^ Pittsburgh Pirates: Charlie Morton finds his groove

External links[edit]