Morton is one of the front runners in the battle for the 5th starter role out of Spring Training.
It seems strange to start an article about the 5th starter battle with this statement, but here goes: far too much is made about the 5th starter out of Spring Training.
For one, how many teams use just five starters in a season? Last year the Pirates had seven starters making ten starts or more, and two more starters making nine starts. In 2009 they had seven starters making double digit starts. In 2008 they only had five starters make double digit starts, although that was probably because the other eight starters weren't good enough to rack up that many appearances.
Second, if your options for a fifth starter are dim, you can usually go with four starters for the first few weeks of the season, due to the breaks in the schedule early in the season.
That said, I do see why it is always important for the Pirates. The rotation lacks a number one starter, and while James McDon...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.