One bad start doesn’t change how reliable Charlie Morton has been in 2023

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The Braves lost last night in frustrating fashion. It started out with an hour-and-half rain delay, and the weirdness continued when the umps botched a call that may have cost the Braves several runs. They would settle with one, and that would be all they could muster the entire night in one of the worst performances from the offense this season. On the other side, Charlie Morton didn’t have it from the jump. He walked five batters and hit another, allowing four earned runs over just 3.2 innings. It honestly could have been a lot worse for the veteran right-hander, but it doesn’t take away from what he’s been all season, which is one of the most reliable starters in baseball.

I only bring this up because I see fans left and right spouting off about how Morton isn’t worth $20 million, or how he’s so inconsistent. When in reality, he’s worth more than that on top of being a pillar of consistency.

Coming into last night, Morton had the opportunity to tie the MLB lead in wins with 11. He also boasted the 17th-best ERA in all of baseball. After a shaky start to the season, Morton recorded a 3.26 ERA over his last 17 starts. The last time he had an ERA above 4.00 was on April 14th, and in his previous seven starts coming into last night, he recorded a 2.45 ERA. He’s been the best pitcher on the Braves staff for damn near the entire season.

I get baseball fans in and around Atlanta don’t have much to complain about, and when the tiniest thing goes wrong, the natural thing is to overreact. $20 million also isn’t anything to scoff at, but in the world of major-league starting pitching, it’s nowhere close to the top, especially on a team-friendly one-year deal. If this was the first year of a four-year, $80 million contract, perhaps there would be something to worry about.

Just ask Mets fans if they would take Charlie Morton’s production for $20 million. They are currently paying Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander over double Morton’s salary, and they’ve combined for 2.7 bWAR. Charlie Morton has accrued 2.5 bWAR by himself.

Bad starts are going to happen, and Morton may not be a #1, but he’s putting together another fantastic season, and he’s one of the last guys I’m worried about when it comes to the Braves.

Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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