The Brewers have added another LHP to the bullpen yesterday afternoon signing Franklin Morales to a MiLB deal with an invite to spring training FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Morales went 4-2 last season while posting a 3.18 ERA in 67 appearances with the Kansas City Royals. In 62 1/3 innings, Morales struck out 41 batters. In nine major league seasons, Franklin Morales has a 23-29 record with a 4.52 ERA over 300 appearances with the Rockies and Red Sox in addition to the Royals. Morales becomes the fifth lefty for the Brewers in spring training. Sean Nolin, who was claimed off of waivers just three weeks ago, is the only one of two lefties on the forty-man roster (the other being Will Smith), Morales, like the other three non-roster invitees, will have to earn his keep.
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Franklin Morales Sinker has above-average velocity and posts the highest ground ball rate of his pitches at 10.34%. His Cutter comes in at second posting a GB rate of 10.23% (which is a higher rate than most LHP) as well as having above velocity. His four-seam fastball as well has above-average velocity but posts the second lowest WHIFF rate (8.23%) and the third lowest GB rate (6.05%). His curve ball results in slightly more fly balls than other LHPs. In 2015, Franklin Morales relied primarily on his sinker, cutter and four-seam fastball. He did throw his curveball, albeit it was rarely and only three five splitter pitches all season.
Despite Morales strong showing in 2015, he lacks the dominating strikeout rate which teams look for in a reliever. He has a career K/9 rate 7.09, but the last two years Morales had posted far lower K/9 rates than that, logging 6.32 in 2014 and 5.92 last season. His K/9 rate has been declining each year since 2012. Given though that the Brewers only have two guaranteed LHP in the bullpen, Morales has spring training to show that despite his declining strikeout rate he can bring quality relief innings to the Brewers.