In the fifth round of the 2019 MLB draft, the Blue Jays selected a college shortstop, Tanner Morris, out of the University of Virginia at #147 overall.
A draft eligible sophomore, Morris is another lefthanded hitter (like fourth-round pick Will Robertson) and played for former closer Billy Wagner in high school. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Morris had a solid season in his freshman year at Virginia, hitting .298/.397/.374 with nine doubles and two home runs but really turned things up a notch in his sophomore year after a strong showing in the Cape Cod League in 2018.
MLB.com ranks Morris at #104 and writes that “Morris has a very good track record for hitting and most scouts believe he’ll continue to hit for average at the next level.” He’s walked more than he’s struck out in both of his collegiate seasons and scouts seem to think that there’s more power in the future. That said, they also think that Morris’s future isn’t at shortstop although he has “decent hands and enough arm” and the thought is that he could slide over to second base.
Baseball America ranked Morris as the #124 draft prospect and note that he “has one of the more complete hitting approaches in the class dating back to his days as a high schooler,” noting that “he’s filled out more physically and started to tap into more extra-base power in 2019.” He’s shown a bit of a tendency to become more pull happy although his swing works well going the other way. Like MLB.com, Baseball America think that he won’t play shortstop as a pro but think he’ll be better suited for third base or a corner outfield spot.
Clearly Morris is a hit-first infielder who’s bat will determine how high he rises rather than where he plays on the diamond.
What do you think of this pick by the Blue Jays?
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