A Comparison: Clayton Kershaw and Brandon Morrow

Dave, of Goose Joak and fellow member of the FB365 League, posted some interesting numbers on the league’s message board. The most interesting to me was the comparison of two high-strikeout, low-control pitchers.
Player A – 10.4 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 39% GB rate, 4.12 xFIP
Player B – 10.1 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, 40% GB rate, 4.22 xFIP

Player A is Brandon Morrow. Player B is Clayton Kershaw.

Morrow has always had great velocity, but a lack of control and sometimes movement have held back his potential at the big league level. This season has been more of the same. While Morrow is getting plenty of hitters to swing and miss, he is walking way too many. His ERA may be inflated a bit to this point, but 23 percent of balls put in play against him have been classified as line drives, which could inflate BABIP.
However, Morrow has cut down his walks recently allowing eight in his last 22 innings (3.27 BB/9) and in his last outing he purposefully cut down on his velocity to concentrate on location. This worked in one regard as he went seven innings for only the second time this season, but it also meant only one strikeout.
Kershaw has been better than Morrow in that he has allowed fewer line drives. He has also been able to strand just under 80 percent of his baserunners allowed compared to 64 percent from Morrow. Both pitchers fair very well against throwing-arm sided hitters and have worse K/BB numbers against opposite throwing-arm side hitters.
The similarities between the two just goes to show how much talent each pitcher has in their raw stuff. Both pitchers generate swings and misses at elite levels (they rank one and two behind Tim Lincecum).
While Kershaw has the sparkling ERA, he is also much harder to acquire right about now.
If your fantasy team could use some upside and strikeout numbers, Morrow is a name likely available due to an ugly ERA. Let’s just hope his low velocity/low strikeout approach doesn’t play out as extreme as it did in his last game.