Player: Brett Morales
Drafted by: Cincinnati Reds (No. 735 overall)
DOB: 1/10/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’2”/185 lbs.
School: King High School (FL)
Previously Drafted: N/A
While there's no doubt that the overall strength of the Florida high school crop is down this year, players like Brett Morales make it bearable.
A good athlete who has dabbled at multiple positions across the diamond, Morales has the tools to be a stud on the mound.
He's relatively new to pitching full-time, but you wouldn't know it from his performance, including a 0.99 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 49.1 innings as a junior. He's taken great steps over the past two summers and has emerged as one of the top prospects in the state.
Combining an incredibly polished changeup with a low-90s fastball, Morales is worthy of a second-round selection, although his strong commitment to the University of Florida could drop him further down teams' draft boards.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Morales has an easy delivery that includes a slight leg kick and a slower-than-usual leg drop to the plate; term most often used to describe his delivery is "slow-paced"; long, low stride to the plate; tall, athletic build with room for more growth; played a good amount of infield during his four years at King HS; should top out around 200 lbs. once he reaches full development; good balance on the mound; repeats his delivery well; relatively new to pitching, so he will need to be vigilant about repeating his delivery.
Fastball sits regularly in the 91-93 mph range; can reach back to hit 94 mph every now and again, but rarely seen over; fastball has a decent amount of sink on it; shows good command of the pitch; controls it well; with a little more growth, he could add an extra tick or two to the pitch.
Curveball shows good depth and bite; sits at 73-77 mph; great spin on pitch; doesn't locate it well enough to be a usable pitch at the next level; doesn't have huge drop, but enough to keep hitters off-balance; used effectively as an out pitch on the showcase circuit last summer.
Changeup is far and away his best pitch; shows great feel for the offering; velocity on pitch ranges from 73-78 mph, but he does an excellent job disguising it; barely noticeable difference coming out of his hand from fastball; drops like you wouldn't believe and makes hitters look foolish; arguably one of the top changeups of any high schooler coming out in 2013.
Has shown great control of his fastball; that pitch alone gets a 55 grade, but control of curve and change has held him back; is starting to grow more comfortable throwing the curve, but it still needs a ton of work; changeup is his best pitch even without great control; more often than not, he appears to throw it low, but sometimes it ends up pushing to the right while other times it cuts back a bit to the left.
Commands his fastball incredibly well, even with the late sink; curveball needs serious attention; appears to get lucky to have curve go where he wants it to inside the strike zone; changeup is headed in the right direction and will become above-average offering with more usage.
MLB Player Comparison: Jeremy Hellickson
Projection: No. 3 or 4 starter for a first-division team; outside shot at No. 2 starter.
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 50%
A lifelong Gators fan, Morales is committed to Florida, although his one-two combo of his fastball and changeup will get teams to pony up enough bonus money to make things interesting.
He's the kind of talent that would probably benefit more from professional coaching than the college level, but he has always dreamed of playing for the Gators.