SDI Prospect Rankings – #8 Josh Morgan

At #8 on our list checks in Josh Morgan, the Texas Rangers third pick of the 2014 draft. A relatively unknown prospect, the middle infielder has flown under the radar in non-scouting circles yet just continues to impress and hit, lots of hitting.

Video courtesy of FanGraphs

There is nothing about Joshua Brandon Morgan that is flashy. He doesn’t possess much of a power tool (3 HRs in 154 MiLB games) and doesn’t project to reach more than 10 home runs a year. The Corona, California, native runs well but again doesn’t project to reach deep into the double digits in steals, sitting as more of an above average runner. While he possesses a glove capable of manning short without issue, Morgan isn’t his Hickory infield mate Michael De Leon – he won’t win any Gold Gloves at the keystone.

What Morgan does very, very well is hit because #hittersgonnahit. At 19 years old in the Low-A South Atlantic League a year ago, he slashed .288/.385/.362. In his 2014 debut season, the 5’11”, 185 pounder hit .322/.436/.347. Morgan has a very good feel for both the strike zone – 74 BBs, 76 Ks in his career – and the bat. He has shown the ability to handle velocity with a .265 batting average in 118 plate appearances against pitchers ranked within their team’s top 20 prospects by, albeit not every top prospect throws hard. In 2015, Morgan posted reverse splits hitting .312 against righthanders and only .228 vs lefties, something to watch for in the upcoming season. If you’re looking for a comp, think righthanded Odubel Herrera with a better glove and approach, trading in some line drives for groundballs.

Looking ahead to 2016, Morgan should start the year in High-A High Desert (playing…..somewhere) at the ripe young age of 20. With the aforementioned De Leon likely repeating Low-A, Morgan will see extra time at short which his primary position yet one he’s seen action at in under 50% of his games. Given the Rangers aggressiveness with hitter promotions and the preference to keep prospects out of Adelanto, it wouldn’t come as a shock for Morgan to see a Frisco promotion sometime in August if he performs.

You may not have heard much of Josh Morgan, but expect his name to pop up more and more (just last week Baseball America ranked him 7th in the system). Shortstops with the potential to hit .290+ with 10%+ walk rates don’t grow on trees.

Grant Schiller
Grant is currently a student at the University of North Texas and long-term hopes to get into the world of scouting. He will spend many nights over the summer checking out the prospects around the Texas League in Frisco. When not around baseball, Grant will probably be dropping threes at the rec with no remorse.

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