The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Jin-De Jhang, C
18. Vic Black, RHP
We continue the countdown with the number 15 prospect, Bryan Morris.
15. Bryan Morris, RHP
Morris was the final piece of the Jason Bay trade in 2008, with the Pirates refusing to pull the trigger unless he was added to the deal. The rest of the trade has turned out horribly, with Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, and Craig Hansen out of the system. Morris was the last player added to the trade, and is the last player remaining in the system.
His value was low when he came to the Pirates, with a history of injury problems. They overhauled his entire delivery in 2009 and 2010, and ever since then he’s been healthy. Morris moved to the bullpen in 2011, and has remained in the role ever since. As a reliever he looks like a late inning guy who could have a shot at closing in the majors.
Morris throws his fastball in the 94-96 MPH range, and the pitch has a lot of movement. He also throws a hard breaking curveball, which was his out pitch until the 2012 season. In 2011 he added a slider, and in 2012 he turned that slider into a cutter. The cutter was a devastating pitch, throwing in the upper 80s. It acts like a sharp slider, and Morris used that to dominate Triple-A hitters, and to cut down on some control issues.
For some reason the Pirates didn’t call Morris up to the majors until September, despite strong numbers in Triple-A. He’s out of options, so he will need to be in the majors throughout the 2013 season. Morris is a power reliever, and his fastball/cutter combo makes him the internal favorite to close once Joel Hanrahan is gone. The Pirates could go with an experienced arm in the position, which is a path they took before handing Hanrahan the job. Eventually Morris should have a shot at the role.