When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Brandon Morrow to a Minor League contract in January, the club was taking a flier on a talented former first-round draft pick who struggled to stay on the field in recent seasons.
In the matter of just 10 months, Morrow revitalized his career by transitioning from a starting pitcher to dominant setup man. He played a significant role for the Dodgers throughout the playoffs and World Series.
Morrow’s success on the mound established himself as one of manager Dave Roberts’ go-to options in the bullpen against the Houston Astros. The 33-year-old appeared in all seven World Series games, becoming just the second pitcher in history to accomplish that feat (Oakland Athletics reliever Darold Knowles, 1973).
In 5.1 innings during the Fall Classic, Morrow allowed five runs and nine baserunners with four strikeouts — amounting to an 8.44 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. His numbers were skewed by one bad outing in Game 5 at Minute Maid Park, where he yielded four earned runs without recording an out.
Game 5 marked Morrow’s 12th postseason appearance in 13 games, so it’s understandable that the right-hander wasn’t at his best, given his heavy workload in October. It was also the first time of his career pitching on three consecutive days.
All-in-all, Morrow posted a 3.95 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 13.2 frames during the playoffs. He racked up 12 strikeouts compared to two walks, but additionally gave up three home runs after not allowing any during the regular season.
Morrow was promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City in late-May, where he thrived right out of the gate. He didn’t allow a run over his first 12.2 innings of the season and eventually earned a setup role to bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen.
Overall, Morrow pitched to a superb 2.06 ERA, 1.55 FIP and 0.92 WHIP in 43.2 innings during the regular season with 50 strikeouts to nine walks.
He is among the six Dodgers’ free agents. Given his production this season, Morrow figures to be in line for a hefty raise in 2018 and beyond.