Written by: Jake Tweedie
Follow him on Twitter: @MLBUKAnalysis1
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Part 2 of this Mini-series of underrated players from the 2020 Draft comes in the form of Braddock High School Shortstop Yohandy Morales. He’s not going to be drafted as high as my West pick but he’s certainly as interesting, and the ceiling to be just as talented.
Check out my bat of the West here: https://prospectsworldwide.com/2020/05/30/my-most-underrated-bat-of-the-west-in-the-2020-draft-is/
Looking to be a late second round or early third round pick, the youngster has plenty of up side but also a lot of work to do in order to tap into his potential.
Yohandy Morales SS – Braddock High School
18 years old – Throw: R – Bat: R – 6’4″ 195 lbs
|30 / 40||40 / 60||35 / 55||40 / 35||45 / 50||45 / 55||45|
Long and lean with projectable build, he can generate great power off the bat. Interesting player due to his potential offensive ceiling, whilst being defensively solid. Will probably end up outgrowing SS in the future.
Hit: 30/40 (Present/Future)
Looking back to 2019 and this BP, there’s some concern with his mechanics. This is later adjusted but we see how his hands are positioned too well and he gets in front of the ball. This leads to more balls going to the pull side, but the trajectory will cost him HRs as he hasn’t got under the ball enough.
This could just be poor BP form. However, when you look at his mechanics and how he has such a narrow stance, this doesn’t allow him to open his body as much and he has to adjust by getting ahead of the ball.
Fast forward to March this year and there is a substantial difference in his mechanics. His stance is wider, and he times his swing much better. By keeping himself tall and leaving it until the last minute before showcasing his quick bat speed, he makes solid contact with the ball.
This seems to be something he has worked on with Harold Martinez, ex-Minor Leaguer and current hitting coach for Braddock HS. As he fills out and has further guidance, he has the potential to be much better.
Currently he is a 30 grade just based on his ability when he does make contact with the ball. He is not the best hitter but the power he generates is impressive, alongside a loose, fluid swing. He will need to work on his handling of the bat, as shown by the BP, but he could be much better than his current future grade.
Power: 35/55 (Present/Future)
He has the ability to barrel the ball beautifully and hit HRs, but he hasn’t been able to control his power in-game yet. If he can adjust to game situations and utilize his power effectively by working on his mechanics, there is definite potential to improve.
With the physical projection remaining there is every possibility his power could be much better than originally predicted. He makes solid contact and the ball comes off the barrel well. There is also plenty of lower body power through his swing, but his mechanics will need to be refined in order to help generate the power he is capable of.
His exit velocity of 100mph in the PG National Showcase was well above the 83mph average, and although his barrel speed (75mph) wasn’t as high as Bowser’s, it was above average (63.95mph). Another statistic that shows his potential power was his Impact Momentum. This is combination of the barrel speed at impact and the weight of the bat. The average for his class was 24.87, whilst his was 28.053.
His quick bat speed and loose swing generates this great power. He uses his height and build effectively too. Offensively this is his biggest strength, and if he can match his hitting ability to correlate with this then he could be a serious threat.
Speed: 40/35 (Present/Future)
Speed isn’t his strongest area by any means, but his quickness over 60 yards and 10 yards are better than average. His 60 yard dash was timed at 6.76, whilst the average was 7.26, and his 10 yard split was timed at 1.68, just quicker than the average 1.71.
He looks to be a willing runner and looks average between the bases. He won’t pick up stolen bases but can ensure he gets on base with his powerful hits. Defensively he has quick actions and shows his speed over small areas in the infield.
As his frame bulks and he becomes more powerful, his speed will decrease. This could allow his move from SS to 3B to be much easier, as he suits the position better. Power hitter, decent arm and good defender but lacks real speed despite being nimble on his feet.
Arm: 45/50 (Present/Future)
His solid arm strength would make his eventual move to 3B an easy one. This can only develop as he becomes more powerful and his body projectable build. This correlates with his batting power.
He has a quick release and easy carry that makes him effective as a SS for the foreseeable future, but will benefit him when he moves to 3B too. His quick hands and control to make plays on the move works well with his great throwing technique. This will help make double plays and step in at 2B for now, but as his body progresses and he outgrows SS, he can use his powerful throws to pick off runners at first.
His lower body movement is solid and allows him to get into areas to make good throws, but he is capable of much better with more work. His future grade of 50 is fair, but if he continues to develop and adjusts to positions effectively then this could easily increase.
Fielding: 45/55 (Present/Future)
One of his best tools is his defending, more for his versatility than anything else. Starting regularly at SS he moves quickly and is very agile. This is perfect as a shortstop as he can get down well and has quick hands that can lead to double plays.
Although his future is more than likely going to be at 3B, he still has time at shortstop before the adjustment. With his size and build he will outgrow this position in a couple of years, but there are no doubts that he can adapt to the role of being a corner infielder with ease.
His grade of 55 is warranted by his ability to play multiple positions, as well as his athleticism and agility for someone his size. With further guidance at 3B, he has the potential to be a solid defender and this relates to his MLB Comparison.
MLB Comparison – Brian Anderson
Although Anderson is slightly better defensively, as well as the capabilities of hitting 20-25 HRs a season, Morales can reach these expectations if he can maximize his potential. His ceiling can keep rising if he can adjust a few areas of his game.
As seen by one of Anderson’s 20 HRs last season, he generates great power off an effortless swing. He has a narrow stance and really uses his lower body to help him generate the power. If Morales can clean up his mechanics then he has the strength and bat speed to hit as well as this.
His raw power is there and he can barrel the ball well, but if he can consistently keep his stance narrow and use his lower body effectively, then he has the potential to be a 20-25 HR hitter.
Another aspect of his game he will have to work on to reach the levels of Anderson is his defensive side.
Anderson played at both RF and 3B for the Marlins but his ability to make plays and his accurate throwing has made him one of the better corner infielders. Whilst Morales has that potential, he will need to maximize his ceiling defensively to reach this level. With the right guidance and the right franchise this is a strong possibility, but he will have to start that adaptation from SS to 3B quicker than expected.
Future Value: 45
With his defensive capabilities and his ability to barrel the ball well, there is no doubting he has the ceiling to be a decent player. The only concern would be whether he will maximize his tools to reach this.
Currently he is tipped as a low end regular, drafted in the high end of the third round. With the right guidance and the right mentality he has the potential to be much more than that though.
The offensive ability to hit 20-25 homers with an average of .260, and the defensive ability to have a fielding percentage of .970+, with 120+ putouts a season, is well within reach for my underrated bat of the East in this year’s Draft.