Never would I wish someone to fail. But the same way that the Chicago Cubs’ have a backup plan, we should look at one as well. So who would the next man up be?
With the Chicago Cubs naming Brandon Morrow as their closer, there’s plenty of talk about if that will work. Morrow hasn’t had much experience closing, not since the early years of his career. He’s been mostly a set-up man, and we know how this can go. They can go well, like when Greg Holland took over for Wade Davis. Or like when a very good setup man in LaTroy Hawkins slid into a closer’s role–and failed.
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Why Morrow works
Morrow might be the most likely to succeed for a few reasons. First, the Cubs don’t want to push him too hard. Joe Maddon already dealt with that in Aroldis Chapman (He’s fine, by the way), so he’ll be careful in utilizing Morrow. Very similar to the way they used Davis.
If there’s one place that Morrow stands head and shoulders above the rest, it’s his ability to keep the ball in the park. He allowed ZERO home runs last season. An impressive feat, no matter what role you are in.
When looking at leverage index, we can see when the game is on the line; the outcome will swing, etc. Morrow performed well in high-leverage situations, pitching in 20 games with a SO/W ratio of 5.33. He allowed a .288 batting average, but when you keep the ball in the yard? That stat can become irrelevant. But if Morrow fails, gets hurt or just isn’t working out, who’s next?