As part of the ongoing process of compiling 2011 keeper rankings, I reached a crossroads between the two American League right-handed pitchers -- and the decision for even one season is closer than I previously thought.
If all things are equal in your draft or auction and you're faced with the choice between Colby Lewis and Brandon Morrow, who would you choose?
Lewis should write a book about how to resurrect your career by spending a few seasons in Japan after his impressive 2010 return to MLB with the Rangers. He finished in the AL Top 10 in both strikeouts (196) and WHIP (1.189) while carrying a 3.72 ERA in one of the most difficult places to pitch in baseball as his home park.
The home-road splits are the opposite of what you might expect (3.41 home, 3.95 road), but Lewis' home-run rate was much higher on the road (1.11 HR/9IP) than at home (0.72 HR/9IP). All in all, still not very damaging.
On the other side of the table, you've got an electric arm in Morrow who appeared to have the light go on last season. He posted the following numbers over the last 17 starts of 2010:
7-3, 3.46 ERA, 1.224 WHIP with a 119:38 K:BB ratio in 101.1 IP.
The Mariners' inability to make a decision on his role throughout his time in Seattle ultimately stunted his growth, leaving many to lump him in with the 2006 draft disappointments (1. Luke Hochevar, 2. Greg Reynolds, 4. Brad Lincoln, 6. Andrew Miller) instead of the success stories (7. Clayton Kershaw, 10. Tim Lincecum, 11. Max Scherzer).
That seems to be shifting for Morrow now that he's in Toronto, where he projects as the team's No. 2 starter behind Ricky Romero heading into 2011.
While Lewis (ADP - 171.02) pitches for a better team and is more established at this stage of their respective careers, it's hard to pass up Morrow's strikeout potential (10.95 K/9IP last season, current ADP - 217.70) as his control finally seems to be coming around.
In an old school 4 x 4 league, Lewis might be a no-brainer with the strikeouts removed, but both pitchers are currently being drafted in spots that could put them on many championship rosters in October.
If you can only choose one, which pitcher do you prefer? The early respones when I posted to this on Twitter were split:
@jasoncollette - Lewis due to the run support & closer situation. If those were equal, Morrow
@sporer - I'll take Morrow by a nose. I like him a lot for 2K11. Not an indictment of Colby, either, as I think he'll be v good.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
You can follow me on Twitter @DerekVanRiper