Location: Coca Cola Park, Allentown, PA
Opponent: Syracuse Chiefs (Triple-A, Washington Nationals)
Conditions: 6:35 PM start – 46 degrees, 6 MPH wind blowing across field
Final Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. 85 pitches, 60 strikes.
Who is he? Adam Morgan is 23 year old lefty who is pitching in just his second season of Minor League baseball. He has rapidly ascended prospect ranks after posting a 3.29 ERA and 140 Ks in 123 IP for Clearwater and a 3.53 ERA and 29 Ks in 35.2 IP for Reading in 2012. Keith Law ranked Morgan ahead of Jesse Biddle, the consensus top Phillies prospect, in his most recent rankings.
Stuff: Adam Morgan challenged hitters throughout the night with three pitches: fastball, change-up, and a slider. He threw the fastball in the early innings at 88-89 and worked righties at the hands and knees. The fastball reached 92 MPH in the second and stayed between 91-93 for the majority of the night – he did hit 95 and 97 once each. To lefties, Morgan worked inside with the fastball and rarely threw his slider.
Morgan was not afraid to challenge hitters with his off-speed pitches, coming with change-ups in 2-1 counts three times. When Morgan is ahead in the count to righties, he looks to his slider. He caught a few Chiefs looking. Morgan showed remarkable consistency, remaining at 93 MPH late in the game, and not dipping below 91 MPH with his fastball. His biggest change of speeds on the night was 19 MPH (93 MPH fastball to 74 change-up in top of the sixth).
Morgan located his pitches very well – he induced very weak contact and was supported by Cody Asche‘s strong arm at third. His biggest mistake came against Jeff Kobernus in the third, leaving a fastball just a little too far up and middle in that Kobernus just cleared the left field wall with.
Fielding: Morgan got off the mound well, producing a nice play to his left and behind him toward Cesar Hernandez in the first, fielded two bunts well, and covered first base in the sixth on a ball hit to Cody Overbeck‘s right. Very good lateral movement.
Bunting: Morgan hit with Michael Martinez on first. He missed a fastball down the middle and then set down a nice bunt up the first base line.
Final Thoughts: In my opinion, Morgan could be a starter in the Major Leagues today. His biggest strength is his location and his changing speeds – his slider doesn’t have a lot of bite but caught righties looking. His 83-84 MPH slider can get predictable, however – he used it as his out pitch every time the count went to 0-2 or 1-2.