Charlie Morton: A Second Chance Brings a Window of Opportunity

Kirk SnyderCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  Pitcher Charlie Morton #50 of the Atlanta Braves poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at Champions Stadium at Walt Disney World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I am sure many of you are unaware of the player, Charlie Morton.  If you do know of him, you're probably either a diehard Atlanta Braves fan or a diehard Pittsburgh Pirates fan. 

Charlie Morton was recently dealt to the Pirates along with Jeff Locke and Gorkys Hernandez in exchange for Nate McLouth. Hernandez was considered the main piece of the deal, but Morton could soon be considered to be the coveted prize of the group.

It could be argued that Morton is the best minor league pitcher since the 2008 season.

He has been at Triple-A since the 2008 season and has compiled a 19-6 record in 215.1 innings, while only allowing 159 hits, with a 2.25 ERA, and 1.01 WHIP. He racked up 189 strikeouts during that span.

Many of you are probably wondering why you haven't heard of Morton by now, if he has been that good. Well, the thing is, he hasn't always been that good. Morton has struggled mightily since he began his career in the minor leagues. 

Morton began his minor league career back in 2002. From the years 2002 to 2007, he sported an 18-34 record, a 4.95 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP in 398 innings. The highest level of competition he faced during that time was in 2007, when he reached Double-A.

It has always been said that Morton has flashed the kind of stuff and ability to be considered a top prospect one day. But it has also been said that mental issues and a lack of confidence on the mound have held him back from reaching his full potential.

The mental issues and lack of confidence may be things of the past nowadays for Morton, who is now pitching with a newly found aggressive attitude that seems to be paying off.

Morton's repertoire of pitches consists of a fastball that hits the mid to upper 90s, a power slider that is considered well above average, a curveball that is also well above average, and a changeup that lags behind his other three pitches, but is still getting better.

Morton was called up by the Pirates and made his debut with his new team on June 10 and has pitched quite well ever since.  He has pitched 17 innings, allowing 14 hits, with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, while striking out 11 batters.

Morton's last pitching performance was a gem.  He threw six shutout innings while only allowing one hit.

Morton is worth a look in deeper fantasy leagues and he should be on everyone's radar in keeper and dynasty leagues.

Morton's next start is on Wednesday, July 8. If you are able to snag him up right now, it may be wise to do so before he hits more and more people's fantasy radar in the upcoming weeks.