Player: Josh Morgan
Drafted by: Texas Rangers
DOB: 11/16/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 5'11", 180 pounds
School: Orange Lutheran (California) HS
College Commitment: UCLA
One of the best things that a young baseball player can do is show versatility. Josh Morgan has had stops all over the diamond, ranging from catcher to third base. He plays shortstop now but may end up at the hot corner when all is said and done.
He has been a standout at several of the predraft showcase events. He was named MVP of the Perfect Game/EvoShield National Championship in 2012 and made Perfect Game's All-American team.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Morgan's swing has developed nicely in the last year, though there are still holes that need to be fixed; has good bat speed and controls the barrel well but has an unusual load where he picks his left (lead) leg up, moving it slightly back before moving forward—that will cause problems against velocity.
In addition to being naturally small, Morgan's power is limited by the fact that he doesn't generate a lot of backspin; path through the zone is flat and geared more for line drives into the gap than over-the-fence pop; has enough raw strength to hit 10 homers per season but won't be a big power hitter.
Plate Discipline: 40/50
One reason Morgan projects so well as a hitter is the way he adjusts from at-bat to at-bat; comfortable in any count, shortening his swing with two strikes and taking advantage of a pitcher's pitch; going to work deep counts and rarely puts himself in poor counts.
The term sneaky quick is condescending, but it applies to Morgan; is not a burner by any stretch, yet he's so smart and instinctive on the bases and in the field that he appears to run faster than he actually does.
Range isn't one of Morgan's best attributes, which is why there's a chance he moves to third base, but his feel for the shortstop position, footwork and quick release give him above-average defensive acumen.
Even though the arm isn't ideal for shortstop, Morgan has one of the quicker releases in this draft; he's like Omar Vizquel in that regard, who didn't have a strong arm but got rid of the ball so quickly that throws were always on time no matter how deep in the hole he had to go.
MLB Player Comparison: Brad Miller
Even though 2014 hasn't been kind to Brad Miller, he has solid all-around tools as a shortstop. Morgan is that kind of player. He's not the most talented player you will ever see but does enough things well to project as a starter in Major League Baseball.
Projection: Average shortstop on first-division team
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 65 percent
It will be interesting to see how teams view Morgan in this draft. Shortstop is one of the top three positions to fill, but if more clubs see him as a third baseman, it will dramatically lower his stock and what they are willing to offer him. There's potential for an up-the-middle position, so an above-slot signing bonus wouldn't be a surprise.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!