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Josh Morgan Scouting Report

Taking a look at Josh Morgan, the #20 prospect in the LSB Community Prospect Rankings

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Morgan Scouting Report: Texas Ranger infielder Josh Morgan ranked #20 on the LSB Community Prospect Rankings.

In the days leading up to Opening Day, I'm going to offer write-ups on the 30 players who made the Rangers' LSB Community Prospect Rankings Top 32, and who didn't get traded. I've done this the last couple of years, and I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so some of this will be a repeat of what I've written before, particularly regarding draft history or performance pre-2014. Also, this is not based on my personal observations -- I'm not a scout, and haven't seen most of these guys. I'm just aggregating the numbers and what others say about these players.

So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Josh Morgan...

Josh Morgan is a 19 year old 5'11", 185 lb. righthanded hitting middle infielder who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd round (#95 overall) in the 2014 MLB Draft.  Morgan was ranked #63 on the Baseball America pre-draft top 500 list, and signed for a bonus of $800,000, significantly higher than the $550,100 slot figure.  BA praised Morgan for his hands and instincts, although there were questions about how much he'd hit, and in particular, his power.

Morgan was assigned to the AZL Rookie League after signing, and immediately performed well, putting up a .336/.468/.372 line.  While he had only 3 XBHs out of 38 hits overall, his 19 walks against just 13 Ks showed an advanced approach at the plate, and he was promoted to the short season A Northwest League for the final month of the season.  At Spokane, it was more of the same, as Morgan put up a .303/.392/.315 line in 201 PAs, with 10 walks and 10 Ks.  Morgan also had an impressive stint in the Instructional League, with his offensive approach and hit tool playing better in the pros than had been anticipated.  Baseball America had him at #19 in their AZL rankings and #10 in the Northwest League rankings, saying that he has no standout tools but plays the game "the right way."

There was a lot of variability in the rankings of Morgan among the various folks who do these things.  BA had Morgan at #10 in their Rangers top 10 -- #9 if you remove the traded Luis Sardinas -- and praised his approach and bat-to-ball skill, and John Sickels had Morgan at #15, while Kiley McDaniel slotted him at #16.  Jamey Newberg, conversely, has Morgan at #36 in the system, and Morgan didn't make Keith Law or BP's lists.

How highly you regard Morgan is going to depend on how much you believe in the hit tool.  The consensus is that he'll stick in the middle of the infield, although there's some question about whether he stays at shortstop or ends up at second base, but either way, he's not going to be a defensive wizard.  Morgan is going to have to continue to hit as he moves up the ladder, particularly when he gets to higher levels where pitchers can throw strikes more consistently, and will be more likely to challenge him due to his lack of power.  Morgan will have success if he can maintain his good approach at the plate while making solid contact enough to keep pitchers from overpowering him.

Morgan will likely start the 2015 season at low-A Hickory, and given that he's an advanced player for his age, its not out of the question that he could be in the majors by 2018.  Morgan's upside is as a high-OBP SS or 2B who doesn't steal a lot of bases or hit for much power, but who is solid defensively while getting on base at a solid clip.