Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mike Morse Report

Mike Morse, SS, Seattle Mariners
Drafted 82nd Overall (3rd Rd), 2000 Draft, HS, Ft Lauderdale, FL
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'4", 220 lbs

There is possibly no bigger enigma in the realm of prospects than Morse. He's a big, young shortstop with a promising bat, but there are questions about whether he's really a shortstop, he has a long-lived reputation as a headcase and trouble-maker. Any time you get suspended by 2 different organizations in a season, there's certainly a legitimate concern. I also have some questions about exactly HOW good his bat really will be.

2004 Birmingham: .287/.336/.536, 9 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 15 BB, 46 K, 209 AB
2004 San Antonio: .274/.326/.465, 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 9 BB, 27 K, 157 AB
pre-2005 mL Career: .256/.313/.401, 92 2B, 16 3B, 35 HR, 106 BB, 323 K, 1576 AB

This doesn't look like an offensive track record that would hold up to a position switch very well, and unless the fast start at Birmingham portends a power spike, he might only go as far as to be an adequate offensive shortstop. He's following that trail this season, putting up a .265/.338/.419 line in his first 136 AAA at bats.

Regarding his defense, there are mixed messages out there. His range is questioned, but his hands and arm are good. He also has the size issue hanging over him. There aren't many guys that are first base-sized and can pull off being a middle infielder. The Mariners have every incentive to keep him at short for as long as possible since they have Adrian Beltre locked up to play third at Safeco until about 3 days after the sun swallows the earth. They also have a big hole at short since they foolishly traded away Carlos Guillen.

Monitor his progress, but be wary. He could wind up being anything from Jose Hernandez to Fernando Tatis to Wil Cordero.

ETA: ??
3 1/2 Stars

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