Friday, March 26, 2010

Prospect #9 Angel Morales

Center Field and Right Field
Drafted 3rd Round, 2007, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School
Levels Played in 2009: A Beloit
Opening Day Age: 20

The Twins have grown accustom to acquiring high upside, toolsy outfielders over the years and Angel Morales is no exception to that. Morales burst on the scene in 2008 when he demonstrated his huge raw power potential hitting 15 home runs and slugging over .623 in the Appalachian League. Only 18 at the time Morales was seen as a steal in the 3rd round after finishing the year batting .301/.413/.623. The only down side to Morales' game was his swing and miss rate which would come back to him in 2009.

Morales would debut in full season ball in 2009 as a 19 year old. His raw swing and poor plate discipline came back to haunt him in the first half of the season as he was only hitting .215 come June. Morales was able to bounce back in the second half in a big way by hitting over .350 the final two months of the season to finish his season averages at .266/.329/.455. When looking at it quickly it is not entirely terrible for a 19 year old in his first season playing over 100 games. However, there is no getting around his strikeout rate. In 207 career games at 3 levels Angel Morales has struck out 220 times in comparison to just 68 walks. It is obvious that there is a hole in his swing and it will need to be corrected if he is going to continue to develop.

Morales has a lot of raw power generated from a relatively small frame. 6 feet 1, 185 pounds. As a 5 tool talent, Morales does everything average to above average. His power and defensive arm rank as his best 2 tools indicating there could be a permanent move to right field down the line. However, the Twins are starting to make it apparent they want all their outfielders to be experienced with all three positions so they do not have to learn on the job at the major league level. Denard Span had to do this in 2009 and it may have held him back from being even better then he was.

Morales does have a lot of talent. However in this day and age if there was one thing that can hold a player back from being a major leaguer it is striking out too much. Morales needs to work hard for the next 2 to 3 years to correct that in order to be able to be a Twins some day. He should begin the year in A+ Fort Myers as a 20 year old where the average age is over 22. It will be a great challenge for Morales to go against the better pitchers, bigger parks and the damp Florida air.

ETA: 2013
Projection: Morales is still very raw in all aspects of the game. But he can still be a plus defensive right fielder with 25 to 30 home runs and maybe 15-20 steals a season.
MLB Comparison: Right handed Curtis Granderson or Chris Young of the Diamondbacks.

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