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School: UC Irvine; Class: Senior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-0; Weight: 195 pounds
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: One. That’s it. Just one. Going back to his days at Rio Hondo Community College through his first 12 starts of 2013, Morales has won 37 games and lost one. Just one. Now, granted, wins and losses are fossilized statistics, but, come on, one loss in four years is just insane.
But it’s not just through dumb luck either. Morales has been consistently, year in and year out, taking large development steps. Going back to his freshman year, his strikeout rates are: 2.16 K/9, 6.82 K/9, 8.02 K/9 and 9.59 K/9. Oh, and the control, it’s among the best at any amateur league.
Since transferring to UC Irvine last season, Morales has walked 42 in 184 innings of work, or 2.05 BB/9.
Projection: I hate – HATE – throwing around terms like “winner” or “grinder” or “dirt bag.” But if they fit any amateur player in the country it is Morales.
The strikeout rate is going to hover around 7.5- to 8.0 K/9 in the big leagues; the control is any above-average skill, and he’s down a solid job keeping the ball in the ballpark. Morales is the type of guy that flies under the radar and then everyone steps back to ask, “Where’d this guy come from?” Mid-rotation arm.
He’s going to lose a lot of leverage in signing a deal because he’s a senior, so a team could force him into taking a below slot deal – in order to save money for other picks – in exchange for a high selection.
Love the potential, though.
Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate
Draft Projection: First Round
Photo Courtesy of UCIrvineSports.com.