The Texas Rangers have built their farm system through investments in the International market and high upside draft picks. Texas prefers athletic players with loud tools as an organizational philosophy. Through the years, the Rangers have had a reputation for finding and developing sluggers, especially from Latin America, while struggling to develop starting pitching.
Though the system has been plundered recently through trades to help the big league club, the Rangers still have several enticing prospects we will be featuring through the coming days.
If you’re looking for a prospect with a high floor and a ceiling that isn’t much higher, Josh Morgan is your guy. Morgan is an infielder with the capability to play shortstop but is ultimately more of a fit at second or third base.
Last year, in his age 20 season, Morgan spent the full year at High Desert where his power numbers were boosted a decent amount by the extremely hitter-friendly park. In 2016, Morgan put together a triple slash line of .300/.367/.394 with 19 doubles and 7 homers.
Home runs aren’t a big part of Morgan’s game, but once his frame fills out he profiles as a doubles machine. At the plate Morgan has a very balanced approach and advanced pitch recognition skills for a player at his level. Morgan uses his quick wrists and keen eye to make up for what he lacks in raw power, making him an effective offensive player.
That .300 average is a real possibility for Morgan in the future. A .300 hitter with a solid walk rate who can handle three infield positions has quite a bit of value. With his glove, Morgan's side to side movements are solid and he has soft hands to make the routine plays routinely. Though his range won’t wow you, he can handle himself on the left side of the infield.
Here's where things get a little more interesting. Last year the Rangers tried to convert Morgan into a catcher. He has the arm, the work ethic, and the baseball acumen to make the switch. However, catching is difficult to learn on the fly and it didn’t quite take off with the Rangers deciding it was best for Morgan to focus his bat and infield glove work rather than trying to tackle converting to catcher during the year.
In spring training this year, Morgan is getting more work behind the dish and could possibly get some starts at catcher this season if it goes well.
Not every prospect can be Isiah Kiner Falefa and pick up catching like it’s nothing. Catching is incredibly hard. As an infielder, Josh Morgan projects as a solid bench piece on a contending team but could be an everyday player on a team not quite in the postseason chase. As a catcher, if Morgan develops at the position, his ceiling rises considerably -- but this is too far off to speculate on just yet.
This year Morgan will likely start 2017 in Frisco where he will probably spend the entire season making the difficult Double-A ball jump barring some huge improvements in his game. Not every prospect can have a ceiling of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but not every major leaguer can either. Major league rosters have 25 spots; the best teams make use of all 25 of those spots with winning pieces.
Josh Morgan might not be a star, but he should be a major leaguer. Everyone likes a nice vaulted ceiling, but there’s a reason sunken floors went out of style.
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