Adam Morgan’s AAA Debut

Adam Morgan made his AAA debut this evening at Coca Cola Park in Allentown and I came away again impressed.  After seeing Morgan twice last season in Reading, I was looking forward to see how he put it together against a Chiefs lineup that had put up 22 runs in their first 2 games against Lehigh Valley this series.

Morgan was the Phillies 3rd round draft pick out of the University of Alabama in 2011 and quickly rose through the organization after throwing almost 160 innings between Clearwater and Reading last season, consistently looking very good. 

Morgan went 6 innings, and gave up 2 runs on 6 hits.  He walked one and struck out five. He threw 85 pitches, 60 for strikes showing very good command. His lone mistake was on a 2-2 fastball to Jeff Kubernius who put it into the left field bullpen.  Morgan consistently was pitching ahead of hitters throwing his fastball generally between 89-93, but hitting 96 and 97 on one occasion each.  I was impressed with Morgan’s confidence in his off speed pitches, consistently using them behind in the count effectively.  Morgan also showed athleticism, making two nice plays coming off the mound. Morgan’s poise was also notable, as he appeared unphased by the gopher ball by Kubernius and pitched well with runners on base.

22 thoughts on “Adam Morgan’s AAA Debut

    1. Diving catches are fun, and not to take anything away from the play in particular (as I didn’t see it) but always keep in mind, a better outfielder (e.g., gets a better jump, takes a better route, etc.) may not have had to dive.

      1. Of course. Your opinion is noted also not you didn’t see the play. Surely you can find some kids with balloons you can bust.

        1. So wait, are we supposed to pretend prospects are better than they are?

          Here’s the thing: yes, it’s true that, without seeing the catch, we can’t know if it is a ball that a better outfielder could have fielded without diving. OTOH, a great diving catch does not really mean anything positive either. It doesn’t speak (one or or the other) to Ruf’s range or routes.

          Despite being a moderate Ruf skeptic (compared to his strongest fans here; I am/was more optimistic than the scouting consensus), I want him to succeed. But his outfield play in spring training was WORSE than I expected, and that was my biggest reason for skepticism. I don’t think he is ever going to be an adequate fielding corner outfielder, though maybe I am wrong – I HOPE I am wrong. A nice diving catch doesn’t mean anything though.

  1. Off topic, I was very surprised that Detroit did not keep Kobernus in Rule5. I guess he is just limited to 2b.

    Morgan’s rise in the prospect ranks is quite suprising to me. I would have put him in Reading just to be sure he was not pushed too hard. I also figured he might be a 1 year wonder but it appears that outside scouts and Phillies alike think he is a top prospect. I hope the Phillies do not rush him but if he is the best option to win games at the major league level why not do it.

    1. I think he surpassed fastball velocity expectations and that’s gone a long way for him on top of his command. As gregg reported he touches 96-97 at times which originally wasn’t thought possible for him.

      1. Yeah, this. That’s just great player development on the Phillies’ part; he was a guy who most teams must have pegged as a finesse lefty with limited MLB upside, but Phillies scouts obviously saw something that could be changed to unlocked additional velocity. Has anyone seen an analysis of his mechanics at school and as a professional? It would be interesting to see if the organization actually changed his delivery at some point.

        I think he’ll be in the majors before the all star break.

        1. PP thought it was a wasted pick, when the Phillies selected Adam Morgan in 2011, if I recall. Thought he would be an organizational arm.

          1. PP said “When the pick first happened, my first thought was “Matt Way”, which doesn’t bode well for Morgan, but upon further review, I think he’s going to be a bit better than that” in the draft analysis.

  2. That was one interesting write up of morgan in 2011, should breeze through the low minors, is a poor mans cliff lee, and then after low minors will see, some scouts are high on him, really some of it was right on. was that write up by pp or some scout??

    1. It looks like the poor man’s Cliff Lee comparison was a scout and the rest was PP:

      “Morgan has anchored the Alabama rotation, and gets the “poor man’s Cliff Lee” tag put on him, I guess because they are both from the South and have somewhat similar builds and arm actions. PG has him at 90-93 with a very good slider, BA is less enthused and notes he often pitches at 87-90 instead. His slider is his best secondary offering, and his changeup is average. I don’t have a strong opinion of him. If he’s healthy, can throw strikes, and has a usable breaking ball, he should be able to cruise through the low minors, and then the real test starts.”

  3. Morgan represents another strong in season move as opposed to to off season thuds. I don’t get it but the off season seems worse since Wade is back. BTW Why is he back anyway.

    1. Because he actually is a good evaluator of amatuer talent, his drafts built the club. He was not so good at evaluating major league talent or building a roster.

      1. Well, I’ll give Ed Wade credit for the Bobby Abreu trade (an obvious coup) and, as Houston’s GM, hijacking a willing Amaro for Hunter Pence, but the praise stops there. Wade was not the guy running the Philies’ drafts. Also, when you look at those drafts closely, they were not deep and, in fact, were pretty darned shallow. The Phillies were fortunate to hit on a few guys and when they hit, they hit big. But I doubt that, in picking those guys, Wade did anything more than discuss and bless Mike Arbuckle’s choices. Please, no more Ed Wade talk. When Houston hired him we all laughed and rightfully so – he did a horrible job as Houston’s GM (it reminded me of the time the Jets hired Rich Kotite – you knew from a distance how foolish it was).

        On Morgan, I reviewed much of his start on video. I came away incredibly impressed. He probably needs to work on some things, but what I saw was a guy who is essentially a big league pitcher right now. On the mound, he kind of looks like Wade Miley, Mike Hampton or a bigger and harder throwing version of Randy Wolf – he’s a very strong and athletic guy – not as lanky as Lee, more of a bull dog. He has a very confident way about him and his tempo is just like Cliff Lee’s. He gets the ball, watches the sign and throws the pitch.

        As for his stuff, his command appears to be above average and looks like it could become plus over time. The fastball is generally above average and shows signs of occasionally being plus – as noted above, he sits 90-93 (it might be a touch faster because the Lehigh gun is a little slow – it might be more like 91-94). He can really throw a pitch by a guy when he wants but, at least for now, he cannot sit the whole game at 93-96 like Kershaw or Gio Gonzalez. So, for now, in terms of throwing a fastball, he is very much like Cliff Lee. He throws a nice curve ball and slider – pitches look to be in the mid 70s to low 80s. Those pitches are average and sometimes appear to be above average to plus. He threw what appeared to be a few really devastating change-ups at around 70-75 MPH – a few of these broke like a Cole Hamels change. The change-ups I saw were near plus to plus.

        Right now, I think Morgan is the equivalent of a solid #4 or better. As I see view him, he currently projects to being a really good #3 and perhaps as much as a #2 – the reports we read were right. If he continues to build on his velocity (he was throwing pretty hard for the first start of the year) or really polishes a couple of his pitches, he could project to as high as a dominant #2 or better. For a frame of reference, if he develops as expected, Morgan looks like a bigger, better and more well rounded version of Randy Wolf in one of his better years – a guy you’d be happy to have start game 2 or 3 of a post season series. It’s hard for me to believe that he’ll last much past May or June in the minors – he’s a major league pitcher right now.

        I saw some of Martin’s start. Unlike Morgan, Martin is not a major league pitcher right now. He struggles a lot with his command (or at least did in his first start), but his stuff is really good. Morgan throws an above-average fastball that sits 91-94 and he too can dial it up to the high 90s on occasion. Fastball command is spotty. Martin throws a hard to hit lollipop curve that sits in the low to mid 70s. It has the potential to be a near plus pitch and is currently well above average, but he sometimes loses control of the pitch altogether. Martin’s best pitch is what appears to be a slider. When I first saw it I thought it was a curve since it breaks so much more than a typical slider. The best thing about the pitch is that while it breaks really hard, it still sits between 87-89. The combination of speed and movement make this a plus pitch and he actually commands it better than his other pitches. He will need to learn how to set that pitch up properly because if he can locate his fastball well and keep that pitch down and bury it properly he could rack up some serious strikeout totals.

        So how far away is Martin? It’s hard to tell, he’s going to have to continue making progress. His timetable to the big leagues could be as soon as this July or August or as late as 2015. It’s kind of like projecting Trevor May.

        1. I think Wade made out pretty well on the Lidge and Oswalt trades as well. He got value for both guys and neither one had any chance of helping the Astros be a winning club again.

          Anyway thanks for the observations on Morgan and Martin. I haven’t been able to see much of either guy but I like that Morgan seems to have 3 potentially above average ML pitches. I just hope there’s enough movement and deception on his fastball to get by hitters because the little bit I’ve seen of his delivery looks like it’s an over the top motion.

          1. No, Morgan does not throw across the top. Like most other lefties, he throws from a 5/6 or 7/8 position. His fastball appears to have deception (or it comes out of his hand “late”) and some late “hop” on it. When he winds up well, he can throw it by people the way Bastardo often does.

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