The regular season may be on hold right now, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t talk baseball. Phillies Nation will still be taking an in-depth look at your favorite Phillies players. Here’s a review of Adam Morgan’s 2019 season as well as what to expect from the new Phillies left-handed reliever in 2020.
While the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen showed signs of inconsistency last season, the team will look for contributions from a consistent set of arms in 2020.
Manager Joe Girardi has already indicated that he wants two or three options to be able to give the ball to in the eighth. Adam Morgan, the second-longest tenured arm in the bullpen, could serve as an important set-up man for Hector Neris. The question is whether or not Morgan can stay healthy for the duration of the season.
2019 Stats: 40 G, 29.2 IP, 3.94 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 1.011 WHIP, 1.2 HP/9, 3.0 BB/9, 8.8 K/9. 0.3 fWAR
Morgan was inconsistent out of the pen for the Phillies in 2019. The beginning of last season was where Morgan really succeeded. As noted by Phillies Nation’s own Tim Kelly, Morgan did not give up a run in his first 16 appearances.
Following that run, Morgan struggled immensely. In four appearances over two and a third innings in June, he held an ERA of 23.14. Morgan mainly struggled with right-handers and holding two or more runners on base. His 19.29 ERA with runners on first and second-ranked the fourth-worst amongst Phillies relievers last season, according to MLB.com.
The 30-year-old relied on his slider the most in 2019 as he threw it 38 percent of the time according to Statcast. He also holds a nasty curveball spin, which ranked in the 97th percentile amongst pitchers last season. Despite not throwing the pitch as much as his others, he also possesses a tricky four-seam fastball spin that he can put behind hitters.
Morgan showed glimpses of success throughout 2019. Although he was sidelined for the last two months with a shoulder injury, he proved his upside when handling left-hander giving him a guideline for the future.
With injuries to Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter and David Robertson, Morgan could be the Phillies set-up man to open the new season. He will be called on a lot this season, and the team will need him to have a bounce-back season.
The 2020 season brings a new element to the bullpen — the three batter minimum. This will likely have an effect more on lefty specialists, Morgan included. He has shown the capability to get out left-handers but this new rule could put him against more right-handers than usual, something that has been his Achilles heel for his entire career. Morgan held an ERA of 4.11 while giving up six walks, eight runs, 13 hits, four home runs while only striking out 12 against right-handers last season.
If he can stay healthy and find ways to get around right-handers, Morgan could truly become a weapon in the back-end of the Phillies bullpen this upcoming season.
Check out our previous 2020 Season Previews
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