Morgan Needs a Strong End of the Season

Morgan Needs a Strong End of the Season While the Phillies play out their fifth straight season out of the playoffs, there are a number of players looking to make their pitch for 2017. And what better way than to close out 2016 strong?

One of those players is lefthander Adam Morgan, who has shown the Phillies glimpses but never much over a sustained period of time to suggest he definitely is part of the future starting rotation.

Before Friday's 4-3 loss in 11 innings to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin inferred that Morgan had to step things up.

As it happened, he did in that game, allowing one earned run in six innings, while striking out three and walking two.

The 26-year-old Morgan has had two stints this season with the Phillies. He is 1-7 with a 6.31 ERA.

Morgan was a third round selection by the Phillies in the 2011 draft.

Toward the end of the 2013 season he had pitched well in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, posting a 2.79 ERA in his final eight starts.

Yet he had a major setback in 2014, undergoing left shoulder surgery in January and missing the entire season.

Remarkably, he was able to get to the big leagues last season. Morgan started 2015 by posting a 4.74 ERA in 13 Triple-A starts. he was recalled by the Phillies and went 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts.

Morgan didn't make the team out of spring training but when Charlie Morton suffered a season-ending groin injury, he was called up. Used as a reliever and starter in 14 games, he posted a 6.65 ERA before being sent down to Lehigh Valley.

Morgan flourished, going 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts for the Triple-A IronPigs. He was recently recalled to replace righthander Zach Efflin, who had season-ending knee surgery.

"I feel honored to have the opportunity and will try to take advantage of it," Morgan said after his start on Friday.

Morgan isn't the type who will blow the ball by hitters consistently. According to Fangraphs Pitch/FX, his average speed on his fastball this season is 91 miles per hour.

"My changeup and two-seamer have to be on more times than not," he said.

That is true.

It's also true that he's lefthanded a desired commodity. Sometimes lefthanders develop later, so the Phillies don't want to give up on Morgan.

At the same time, as Mackanin said, he has to start proving himself.

The fact that Morgan got to the big leagues so quickly after shoulder surgery, speaks volumes about his determination and dedication.

Now he has been given the chance and if harbors any hope of being in the 2017 rotation, these starts down the stretch are extremely crucial for Adam Morgan's immediate future.

Photo by Marc Narducci: Adam Morgan

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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