Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Should the 2014 Tigers Lineup Look Like?

A few days ago, Lynn Henning gave his opening day lineup:

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Alex Avila, C
6. Austin Jackson, CF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Torii Hunter, RF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

He also stipulated that Rajai Davis will likely play against left-handed pitching and either bat 2nd or Torii Hunter will move up and bat 2nd.  He has some odd choices, like Austin Jackson suddenly being a power threat because he's going to turn 27 or Alex Avila is suddenly going to be a .300 AVG/.500 OPS hitter because...he's going to turn 27.  Both Jackson and Avila have displayed these qualities before.  Jackson had a .179 ISO in 2012 and Avila had a .295 AVG and a .506 SLG in 2011.  However there are some signs that both those years were flukes, such as both had an abnormally high BABIP.  Relying on both to repeat that performance in 2014 is a bit of a stretch.  He also doesn't give much explanation in other spots, like Torii Hunter and number 8 "just seem to fit."  Because that makes sense.

Joshua Mastracci of the sabermetrically-inclined Beyond the Boxscore also gave his Tigers' 2014 lineup:

Against RHP:
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Ian Kinser, 2B
3. Torii Hunter, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Andy Dirks, LF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Against LHP:
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Ian Kinser, 2B
3. Torii Hunter, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Rajai Davis, LF
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

The big difference here is that he's moving Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez down to 4-5 spots instead of 3-4 and moving Torii Hunter to #3.  Using the same rationale as in The Book, the #3 spot isn't as important as the #4 and #5 spots, so instead of just putting the still useful Hunter in the #5 spot, he's rearranged the order.  It's a better explanation than what Henning used to plop him in the 8th spot at least.  What I disagree the most about his lineup is that he moved Avila up a spot against LHP even though his numbers against them are horrible.  His reasoning is that there needs to be a righty between the lefties Andy Dirks and Avila, but it's not needed when the righty Davis is in the lineup.  

Which brings me to my lineups.

Lefty/righty splits are readily available, so why not use them to determine the batting order?  Especially given that the Tigers are going to platoon at least 1 position (LF) and Dirks and Davis are two totally different hitters so just swapping one for the other in the batting order doesn't make much sense.

I'm using the last 2 years to get a big enough sample size.  

Against RHP:

Player OBP ISO
Miguel Cabera
Victor Martinez
Austin Jackson
Alex Avila
Andy Dirks
Torii Hunter
Jose Iglesias
Ian Kinsler
Rajai Davis

Ignoring Nick Castellanos and Bryan Holaday for a second since they don't have big samples, this shows clearly that Davis shouldn't be starting against RHP.  Keeping Cabrera and V-Mart in the middle of the order, Jackson and Avila have the next highest OBP, so they should get the top 2 spots against RHP.  This will keep Henning happy since Avila is a left-handed bat, same as Dirks, and he wants to keep a lefty in the #2 spot to take advantage of the hole created between 1B and 2B if the first baseman is holding a runner on 1B.

If Cabrera and V-Mart are the 3-4 hitters, the lineup based on these numbers should be:

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Alex Avila, C
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Andy Dirks, LF
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

If Cabrera and V-Mart are the 4-5 hitters, the lineup should be:

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Alex Avila, C
3. Torii Hunter, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Andy Dirks, LF
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Player OBP ISO
Miguel Cabrera
Ian Kinsler
Torii Hunter
Rajai Davis
Austin Jackson
Andy Dirks
Victor Martinez
Jose Iglesias
Alex Avila

Again, ignoring Castellanos and Holaday due to small sample sizes, these stats show Cabrera and Kinsler as the top 2 hitters in both OBP and ISO.  I'm willing to discount Kinsler's numbers a little due to hitting in Arlington and I like to keep Cabrera and V-Mart together just for consistency.  Kinsler, Hunter and Davis now have the highest OBP remaining.  I think Kinsler will work better in the middle of the order because of his power and Davis' speed works better at the top of the order.  These stats also show that Avila shouldn't be hitting at all against LHP.  

If Cabrera and V-Mart are the 3-4 hitters, the lineup should be:

1. Rajai Davis, LF
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Ian Kinsler, 2B
6. Austin Jackson, CF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Bryan Holaday, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

If Cabrera and V-Mart are the 4-5 hitters, the lineup should be:

1. Rajai Davis, LF
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Austin Jackson, CF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Bryan Holaday, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS

It is likely that rookie manager Brad Ausmus is going to be more consistent than my proposed lineup and be more conventional.  It is also likely that there's is some sort of comfort level among players on where they bat in the order.  However, there is such a big difference in some of these players' splits, that it makes sense to switch it up a bit depending on who's pitching.

What would you like the lineup to look like?   Post yours in the comments.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Looking ahead to the 2014 Mud Hens

With under a month left till the start of spring training, I’m going stir crazy for some baseball. The lack of Tigers news has led me to ponder the potential roster of my hometown Toledo Mud Hens. While most would think that pondering the makeup of the AAA roster is pointless, there are some interesting choices of which players might start or debut in Toledo this year. With so many non roster invites to consider, there are position and pitching battles that could be decided in the spring as to who goes where in the minors. It goes without saying that an injury or a really productive spring by guys on the fringe of the ML roster could make some of these predictions moot. 

First, I’ll look at the position players. I’ll assume they go with 12 position players on a 24 man roster. Players I think will be on the roster will have a * infront of their name on this list
The locks will comprise most of the position roster:

*1B - Jordan Lennerton - He had a good year last year and is having a heck of a winter in the Dominican League. There is even talk of him being a dark horse candidate for a bench spot in Detroit, but with Miggy and Vmart healthy, this seems extremely unlikely.

*2B – Hernan Perez – Again, He’ll compete for a job in ST but I think the Tigers want to get him regular at bats so unless he puts up a spring of amazing stats, expect him to play 2B everyday in Toledo.

*SS – Dixon Machado – If it weren’t for Jose Iglesias, he might be the best infield glove in the Tigers system. Problem is, his bat skills make Jose Iglesias look like Miguel Cabrera. He’s done well to make it up this far but I think he’s topped out. Mud Hens fans should enjoy watching him track down groundballs in the hole. 

*3B – Danny Worth – Recently DFA’ed and back again, he’ll compete in ST for the reserve IF role but I’m 99% sure he’ll be a Mud Hen for 2014.  

*1B/3B/DH – Mike Hessman – The legendary “Magic Mike” returns to the Glass City. Unfortunately, at 35 years old, the magic might be in short supply. The good, he still put up a .800+ OPS the last 2 years and on a Mud Hens team that was starved for offense of any kind last year, he will be well received. The bad, he still strikes out at 28% rate. In short, he swings at everything. When he connects, the ball typically doesn’t come back. 

*OF – Ezequiel Carrera – Signed a minor league deal and will compete for a reserve OF bench spot with incumbent Don Kelly. He might actually beat out Kelly as he has slightly better ML stats than Kelly and is 7 years younger, but I don’t believe he can pitch in the 9th inning of a blowout loss. So, advantage Kelly for the moment. Carrera can play all 3 OF positions.

*OF – Trevor Crowe – See Carrera, Ezequiel but with less impressive ML stats.

*OF – Ben Guez – I feel like he’s been on the Mud Hens forever, and he’s likely to be back again this year. I don’t think he’ll ever make it up to the Tigers though, but he’s a nice all position OF to have.

*C – Ronny Paulino – Tigers picked him up off waivers last year to provide some catching depth in their upper level minors. I believe he’ll go to AAA as he does have a fair amount of MLB experience in his career but he’s purely a backup catcher at this point. Even in Toledo, given the development of two far better catchers in the organization as I’ll show below, I expect him to be a backup. That said he’ll still get a fair amount of catching time behind the primary catcher in Toledo as I could see him trading off Catching and DH duties to keep their bats fresh, while giving Hessman some days off of DH or when Hessman is in the field. He'll get at bats but he won’t be the go to catcher should when Avila goes to the DL.

Now for the guys who could be at Toledo or Erie or someplace else.

*C – James McCann – With Bryan Holaday slated to be the backup in Detroit to Avila, McCann should be slated for Toledo after a good year in Erie. A top 10 Tigers prospect in most lists, He has been seen as a possible Avila replacement. I think he’s the leading candidate for the starting job in Toledo but the next guy also had a good year and will need full time at bats somewhere and has a case for Toledo as well.

C – Ramon Cabrera - Cabrera came to the Tigers in exchange for once uber prospect Andrew Oliver. Still just 23 years old, he put up an impressive season between Erie and Toledo. I believe the Tigers will want to find full time at bats for both him and Mcann, which leads me to believe one will be in Erie and one will be in Toledo, rather than both on the same team. I think a case could be made for either of them to be in Toledo but I don’t think it will really matter as far as development of the player. I’ll say McCann for now in Toledo and Cabrera in Erie but it really could go either way and be fine.

*OF  - Daniel Fields – The next prospect OF in our system. He put together a nice year at Erie and seems ready to take the next step. He’ll have to cut down on the strikeouts and keep the OPS up but I think he can do it. The reason I don’t think he’s a lock though is because the next guy could easily take his spot instead, and with Guez, Crowe, and Carrera in the fold, I think  the Tigers will try to ensure full time at bats for both of them. He plays mostly centerfield and I don’t see that changing in Toledo.

OF – Tyler Collins – This is the only other guy I could see starting in the OF at Toledo but he would bump Fields to Erie. He’s another OF prospect who turned on the power last year in AA, but his average suffered. He also profiles more as a corner outfielder than a centerfielder. Right now he and Fields profile as 4th OFs in Detroit (Andy Dirks types) but they could still surprise. Regardless, I think it is one or the other will the start of the season in Toledo. 

That leaves 1 spot left. There are several part time players who could get this role, or it could even go to another pitcher if they carry 13 of them on only 11 position players. I won’t go into detail on them all because I really don’t know that much about them but names like John Murrain (catcher), Brandon Douglas (infield), *Kevin Russo (IF/OF), Corey Jones (infield), or someone else could be that last guy. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Russo since he can ply both infield and outfield. Bottom line, whoever they are, there is next to no chance they see time in Detroit, unless something goes catastrophically wrong. 

So your position roster at Toledo I feel would look like this:
C – McCann
1B – Lennerton
2B – Perez
SS – Machado
3B – Worth
LF –  Carrera
CF – Fields
RF – Crowe
DH – Hessman

C – Paulino
OF – Guez
IF – Jones
IF/OF – Russo

Overall this lineup should provide an improved offensive punch over last year. If I had to guess at a lineup I would think it would look something like this:
1) Carrera – LF
2) Perez – 2B
3) Hessman – DH
4) Lennerton – 1B
5) Fields – CF
6) Crowe – RF
7) MaCann – C
8) Worth – 3B
9) Machado – SS

Now I’ll take a look at the pitching in Toledo. There are some notable names to consider in the rotation and the bullpen and its all but guaranteed well see several of these names up with Detroit at some point this year. First I’ll look at those I feel are a lock to make the AAA roster. Again, I’ll designate those I feel make the team with an *.

*SP – Jose Alvarez – The unofficial #6 starter for the Tigers last year seems destined to continue that role again pitching in the rotation for Toledo. He put up a 2.80 ERA in AAA last year and was the first call up when a starter hit the DL. He’ll probably be the #1 starter to call up when needed unless someone else develops or has a breakthrough year.

*SP – Duane Below – The product of Britton, MI returns to the Tigers after being claimed by the Marlins when he was DFA’ed to make room for Jose Valverde. Unfortunately for Below, he did very poorly in his stint with the Marlins which led to his being released after the season. The Tigers will look to him to provide depth and possibly compete for a spot in the bullpen as a lefty reliever but I think he’s best served as a starter, a role he filled well for the Tigers in 2011 and 2012. He hits the strike zone and gets outs and is a workhorse. He’s an excellent starting pitcher to have for depth.

*SP – Kyle Lobstein – Another lefty, Lobstine was claimed in the rule 5 draft last year and after 
not breaking camp with the Tigers , Detroit sent catching prospect Curt Casali to the Rays for him. The 23 yr old Lobstine rewarded the Tigers with a 3.27 ERA between Erie and Toledo. He strikes out just under a batter an inning and walks just about 3 per 9. He held his own moving from AA to AAA and I think the Tigers will give him a full season at AAA to prove himself and make a case for a spot start, or more.

*SP – Blaine Hardy – A product of the Royals organization, the Tigers signed the 26 yr old lefty after the Royals let him go last year. Hardy responded with a 1.66 ERA as a reliever and starter between Erie and Toledo. Interestingly enough, his ERA was exactly 1.66 as both a starter and a reliever. He actually retuned to starting in Toledo for the first time since 2010. I think the Tigers will keep him starting in AAA but see if he can earns a spot in the pen in ST. This is a guy to keep an eye on for sure.

*RP - Casey Crosby – Long time lefty starting pitcher who is still just 25 years old is being moved to the bullpen for 2014. After a couple arm surgeries since being drafted, and continued battles with control, despite being a strikeout an inning pitcher, the Tigers have decided to move him to the bullpen to see if they can get some value out of his electric arm. Scouts still rave that his stuff is good, but his control is his downfall. He’s a lock to make the Mud Hens team and he’ll compete for a spot as a lefty in the Tigers pen, but I think he’ll end up in Toledo to learn about being a relief pitcher.

*RP – Luis Marte – He’s made the Tigers bullpen before out of ST but an injury at the end of the 2012 spring derailed his year. He also saw action in the majors in 2011 and he pitched well, but his health has not held up over the last few years. When his arm is right he’s a major league caliber reliever. The issues will always be his body. Can it stay healthy? He figures to receive a good look in Spring Training this year and has a good chance to win a bullpen spot with the Tigers. If he doesn’t he’ll be a lock for Toledo and as long as he’s healthy, he will be on the short list of reliever call ups.

*RP – Evan Reed – Claimed by the Tigers last year from the Marlins, Reed made his ML debut with the Tigers and did a respectable job out of the bullpen when called upon. Another guy who will get a look in ST to win a spot but who will ultimately end up in Toledo and be on the short list of bullpen callups.

*RP – Jose Ortega – A long developed product of the Tigers system after signing as an international FA at 18, Ortega has made appearances each of the last 2 years in Detroit and held his own. He also put up a sparkling year at Toledo in 2013 with a 1.86 ERA in 48 innings. Like the above 2, he’ll be in competition for a bullpen spot but should end up in Toledo on the tail end of the short list of callups.

*RP – Jhan Marinez – Signed as a minor league free agent, Jhan Marinez fills the required role of a player with a “Jh” in their first name. Oh yeah, he also has bounced around the Marlins and White Sox systems, earning a couple games in the bigs in 2010 and 2012. Stop me if you have head this story before but he has a live arm and strikes out over a batter an inning but he walks about 5 and a half per 9. He got an invite to big league camp but I don’t think he has much of a chance to make the Tigers roster, as such he’ll wind up in Toledo.

That leaves 3 spots, 1 in the rotation and 2 in the bullpen open. There’s 3 guys who could be in the mix for the last starter spot, barring a last minute minor league signing, that I could see starting at Toledo, or they might go to Erie.

SP – Robbie Ray – The centerpiece to the Doug Fister deal, DD raved about Ray in many a press conference. The numbers certainly say he’s a solid prospect, and left handed to boot. The Tigers seem confident he could be in the rotation in 2015. Unfortunately he only pitched a total of 11 games in AA last year. He may reach AAA this year but I think he’ll start in AA Erie. He did get an invitation to big league camp.

SP – Drew VerHagen – The fourth round pick of the Tigers in 2012, righty VerHagen put up a solid season between Lakeland and Erie last year. Like Ray he’s high on many Tigers prospect lists but with only a few AA games under his belt he likely starts in Erie. He also got an invitation to big league camp.

*SP – Ramon Garcia – True organization filler at this point, he’s been in the Tigers minor leagues since 2005 and has split time between Erie and Toledo each of the last 3 years. He does okay in Erie but has typically struggled up in Toledo but he’s logged 28 starts and 156 Innings up there. Toledo leaned on him quite a bit as a starter last year, taking the ball 15 times. I could see him being 5th starter this year (which would give them an all left-handed rotation) simply because I’m not sold at all on VerHagen or Ray starting the year in AAA, and Garcia would be a warm body to plug in to fill the gap till one of those two comes up.

The last 2 spots in the bullpen I think could be decided among 5 guys who either finished the season with the Tigers or were signed this year and put on the 40 man or made non-roster invites.  Typically if you are signed as a minor league FA and given a non roster invite and you don’t make the team, you go to AAA to be easily called up.

*RP – Kenny Faulk – Drafted by the Tigers in the 16th round of the 2009 draft Faulk has patiently worked his way up the system, earning spot in AAA last year. A strikeout lefthander, he has posted a K/9 rate above 10 at each level he has played. However, like so many Tigers arms in the minors, he has issues with control, walking about 6.5 per 9 each of the last 2 years. He’ll have to find some control if he wants to have a shot in Detroit, but I don’t see a reason why he wouldn’t be assigned to Toledo again this year.

*RP – Eduardo Sanchez – A former product of the Cardinals system, Sanchez has appeared in the majors each of the last 3 years for a handful of games. His most successful was 2011 in St Louis where he posted a 1.80 ERA in 30 innings. However the righty was never able to recapture that level of performance and his walks rose and strikeouts dropped. Over the last 2 years he’s battled command and seen his strikeouts tail off. He was picked up by the Cubs last year but after being let go in November, the Tigers picked him up and gave him an invite to camp.  He’s certainly an interesting guy to watch because he has had good command and control in the past and at only 24, the potential is still there. I don’t think he’ll beat out other candidates in spring camp but he should go to Toledo and could even see the big leagues again if he gets his walks down.

RP – Justin Miller – Former Texas prospect, Miller signed a minor league deal with the Tigers and was later added to the 40 man roster before the rule 5 draft. He is trying to comeback after arm surgery that forced him to miss all of the 2012 season. In 2011, he threw 70 innings at AA with a 1.81 ERA and a healthy 3.21 K/BB ratio. But then he went under the knife and his comeback bid did not impress in Texas last year, walking just over 5 per 9 and touting a 7.67 ERA in 27 innings. The Tigers clearly like his arm enough to give him a chance. Despite his struggles last year he still struck out an impressive 11 per 9, which is close to his career mark before his arm issues. It’s kind of a toss-up as to whether he’ll start at Toledo or Erie, or even make a team if he has a disastrous spring. My gut says no to AAA but I would not be shocked at all to see him assigned there.
The last two names on the list have actually been assigned to Toledo according to the team’s transaction page but I find that odd, given the higher potential, ML ready, talent with a case for AAA. I think they could be bumped back to Erie but they may end up in Toledo anyway. If either one could start I could see them actually bumping Garcia to Erie but they are both relievers.

RP – Will Startup – A 28 year old lefty was a part of the Braves org all the way back till 2007, when was traded with Wil Ledezma to the Padres,  but he missed 2008 with TJ surgery and has been on the comeback trail ever since. He signed with Erie last year and put up a respectable season, going 85 innings with a 3.41 ERA, low walks, but not many strikeouts. He is certainly in a position to go to Toledo and he could be assigned there and it wouldn’t surprise me, but with such a left heavy rotation, plus Crosby and Faulk already in the fold, I find it difficult to place him there as he would be one of many lefties and he might be left fighting for innings. Being assigned to Toledo is odd here cause I don’t see it but he could bump a guy like Sanchez or even Faulk back to Erie to at least start the year.

RP – Pat McCoy – Cast off from the National organization after flaming out from being picked in the 10th round of the 07 draft, Startup was picked up by the Tigers and assigned to Toledo. This really shocks me because he has a total of 7 career games at AAA and it wasn’t pretty. His AA stats aren’t pretty either. He has a healthy K to BB ratio but his biggest problem is avoiding bats, given his career 10.9 H/9 mark and 4.67 ERA. He makes less sense than anyone to be assigned to AAA given his lack of experience at that level and underwhelming AA numbers. I figure he was signed as part of a glut of lefty relievers to see if they could find a hidden gem to replace Coke in the bullpen and the uncertainty of Ian Krol. My expectations for McCoy are very very low. We’ll see if he still makes the Toledo roster but I don’t see a good case for it.

 So, in recap here is my projected Toledo pitching staff:
SP – Alvarez LHP
SP – Below LHP
SP – Lobstine LHP
SP – Hardy LHP
SP – Garcia LHP

RP – Marte – RHP
RP – Reed – RHP
RP – Crosby – LHP
RP – Ortega – RHP
RP – Faulk – LHP
RP - Marinez - RHP
 RP – Sanchez – RHP

Its missing prospect appeal outside of Lobstine, Marte, and Crosby, but the 2013 staff wasn’t overly impressive and they more than held their own. If the 2014 group can find success the increased offense should get them some more wins in low scoring games. Overall, I think they are looking good for a .500 season with an outside shot of making a playoff bid, especially if VerHagen and Ray come up from Erie. 

This should be an overall good year for the Hens.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Comparing Jack Morris to Mickey Lolich

Jack Morris was denied entry into the Hall of Fame in his 15th and final time on the BBWAA ballot.  Now his only chance of enshrinement is the Veteran's Committee, starting in 3 years.  He may or may not get in, you may or may not agree that he should get in.  But the more I look at his stats, the more he reminds me of another Tigers great starting pitcher, Mickey Lolich.

Both were aces for several years on Tigers teams, both had won World Series rings as a member of the Tigers and neither had won a Cy Young Award.  Morris holds a record as the most wins during the 1980s and Lolich also holds a record as the most strikeouts in the American League by a left-handed pitcher.  Morris, however, has more All-Star games (5 to Lolich's 3,  including starting 3 of them), and 2 additional World Series rings, with the Minnesota Twins (1991) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1992).

Here are some traditional stats:

Jack Morris
Mickey Lolich
3638 1/3

The 3.90 ERA for Morris is high, high enough for some people to say that he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.  The other side of that argument is that Morris pitched in a more offensive era.  Lolich pitched in a more pitcher-dominant era during the 1960's, with a higher mound and a slightly bigger strike zone.  Meanwhile, Morris pitched in a time where he never faced a pitcher-batter during the regular season.  From the time the DH-rule came about to right before Interleague Play started (1973-1996), if a pitcher spent his entire career in the American League, he never faced a pitcher-batter during the regular season.  This is exactly what happened to Morris, who pitched his entire career in the American League from 1977 to 1994.  

There aren't a lot of advanced stats out there to normalize the different eras (like batted ball data), but there are a few:

Jack Morris
Mickey Lolich

ERA+ is a Baseball-Reference stat, the higher the number the better.  FIP- is a FanGraphs stat, the lower the number the better.  Both are calculated to reflect how the pitcher did relative to the league, with 100 being average.  In Morris' case, he was about 5% better than the league and Lolich was about 4% better than the league.  That's only a 1% difference.  Therefore a 3.90 ERA in Morris' era wasn't that much different than a 3.40 ERA in Lolich's era.  

Fielding Independence Pitching (FIP) uses the three "true" outcomes of strikeouts, walks and homeruns - the three stats that pitchers have the most control over.  This stat favors Lolich since he had better strikeout rates and walk rates while having about equal homerun rates to Morris.  FIP- is calculated by FanGraphs and uses the same premise of ERA-.  Lolich was about 13% better than his peers while Morris was only 3% better.

Split data has become more and more available from past seasons.  Baseball-Reference has just about every split imaginable for both Morris and Lolich.  Going back to Morris never facing a pitcher-batter, we can actually subtract that out of Lolich's numbers and only compare what he did against "real" hitters.

Here are Morris' batting against line versus non-pitchers:

vs. Non-P54916120144431711356757291389373142139024781.78.247.313.380.693
Generated 1/8/2014.

And now Lolich's numbers versus non-pitchers:

vs. Non-P 586 14321 12975 1410 3248 550 71 335 156 147 1059 2516 2.38 .250 .309 .381 .690
Generated 1/8/2014.

Morris had a batting against line of .247/.313/.380/.693.  Lolich had a batting against line of .250/.309/.381/.690 (when taking out pitcher-batters).  That's extremely close.

We can also use that split data to show how well each performed in pressure situations, using leverage index.  Leverage is split into 3 different levels, high, low and medium.  High leverage situations are the close games, where one hit can be the difference in the game.  Low leverage are the blowouts, where a homerun is really inconsequential.  Medium leverage is somewhere in between.  

Jack Morris' Leverage Splits:

High Lvrge471286025097126499911651092094161.99.259.310.385.695
Medium Lvrge5447096638063515692564216913661810941.77.246.313.379.692
Low Lvrge54861635553324134921738155105639681.72.243.315.379.694
Unk Lvrge111100000000.
Generated 1/8/2014.

Jack Morris was very consistent and it didn't really matter what the situation was, he allowed about a .693 OPS in all situations as shown above, a .695 OPS in high leverage, .692 in medium and a .694 in low.  This should be enough evidence to dispute the "he pitched to the score" nonsense argument.

Mickey Lolich's Leverage Splits:

High Lvrge 485 3049 2636 646 654 96 13 62 0 10 231 551 2.39 .248 .306 .365 .671
Medium Lvrge 531 6345 5778 526 1446 221 25 163 0 10 442 1168 2.64 .250 .307 .382 .689
Low Lvrge 551 5744 5271 255 1265 247 36 122 0 0 426 1113 2.61 .240 .301 .370 .670
Unk Lvrge 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Generated 1/8/2014.

Lolich was also fairly consistent, having slightly better numbers in higher pressure situations compared to medium level situations.  Lolich was slightly better than Morris in the high pressure situations (.671 OPS versus .695), however we don't know how many pitcher-batters he faced in these situations, so they could be closer than at first glance.

Jack Morris pitched twice as many innings in the playoffs as Mickey Lolich and won 2 more World Series rings.  His most memorable game was in game 7 of the 1991 World Series, defeating John Smoltz in a 10-inning shutout.  Lolich also has a memorable World Series, with 3 CG victories including defeating Bob Gibson in game 7 of the 1968 World Series.  Lolich's stats are a little bit more shiny:

Jack Morris
92 1/3
Mickey Lolich

I was not a fan of baseball during the time both of these pitchers pitched.  The only way I can evaluate them is with stats, with no emotion attached.  And with the stats presented to me, it's hard to imagine how one can garner so much Hall of Fame attention while the other is a forgotten pitcher.