The Atlanta Braves starting pitching just got stronger. On Tuesday, the Braves signed 37-year-old right-handed starter Charlie Morton of Flemington, NJ to a one-year contract, worth $15 million according to ESPN. Morton will now join a Braves starting rotation that includes Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, and Drew Smyly.
Morton actually returns to the Braves organization. He was initially drafted in the third round, 95th overall, in the 2002 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Braves out of Joel Barlow High School in Redding, CT. Morton then played his rookie season of Major League Baseball with the Braves in 2008 and struggled, as he posted a record of four wins, and eight losses with an earned run average of 6.15.
Since then, Morton pitched seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, one season with the Philadelphia Phillies, and then two seasons each with the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. In 2020, Morton had a record of two wins and two losses in nine regular season games in central Florida with an earned run average of 4.74. In 38 innings pitched with the Rays, Morton gave up 43 hits, 20 earned runs, and 10 walks, to go along with 42 strikeouts. He also had an earned run average of 4.74 and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.40.
Morton’s regular season statistics in 2020 were respectable. However, he put up better numbers in the postseason as the Rays reached the World Series before losing in six games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Morton had a record of three wins and one loss in four playoff appearances for an earned run average of 2.70. In 20 innings, Morton gave up 18 hits, six earned runs, and five walks. He also had 23 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.15.
Morton was also an instrumental part of the controversial Houston Astros World Series winning team of 2017. In that postseason, he had a record of two wins, and one loss, with an earned run average of 4.24.
Morton’s two finest MLB seasons were with the Astros in 2018 and with the Rays in 2019, as he was an All-Star both seasons. In 2018, he led Major League Baseball with an .833 winning percentage as he posted a record of 15 wins and three losses with the Astros. Then in 2019 with the Rays, he had a record of 16 wins and six losses, with an earned run average of 3.05.
In an interesting statistic, Morton has hit 121 batters in his career. That is the most by any pitcher in Major League Baseball history.