Fort Myers, Florida —— Entering play on Monday, Minnesota Twins middle infield prospect Emmanuel Morel is slashing .292/.370/.396/.766 for the Gulf Coast League‘s Gulf Coast League Twins, with five doubles, five walks, and three stolen bases against 15 strikeouts over his first 48 at-bats in 2017. I observed the 20-year-old Dominican in a July 26 game against the GCL Orioles; below is Baseball Census‘ full Emmanuel Morel scouting report, including video.
Emmanuel Morel Scouting Report — Video
Our video of Minnesota Twins middle infield prospect Emmanuel Morel shows all of his at-bats in that July 26 game against the Gulf Coast League Orioles, taken from an open-faced view:
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Emmanuel Morel Scouting Report — Notes
Now in his fourth year with the Minnesota Twins—and his second stateside—Emmanuel Morel is still a relatively unknown figure with the organization after being signed as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic. The infielder has played second base and shortstop so far in his career, though second is likely the better fit for him; his lateral range and foot speed are both above average, and he can make the tough plays up the middle from second, but his arm strength is lacking to play shortstop every day. That’s likely just fine for the Minnesota Twins considering shortstop prospect Royce Lewis is also playing for this Gulf Coast League team this summer; Morel should then fit as a second baseman or a utility infielder who can step in at any role and get the job done in short spurts.
Offensively, Emmanuel Morel is impressive; a compact stroke with above-average bat speed and good bat control highlight his approach at the plate. He shows an easy ability to hit the ball the other way, and he runs extremely well. His plus speed may well be his best tool, and he uses it intelligently, running hard out of the box and proving himself unafraid to take an extra base and put pressure on defenders, challenging them to throw him out. His raw power is below average right now (Morel is 5’10” and listed at 150 lbs., though he looks slightly heavier than that), and he may never find himself hitting for any significant over-the-fence power, but his speed is so good that if he can shoot line drives gap-to-gap—and his swing is built to do just that—he should be able to run all day and pick up his fair share of hustle doubles.
Even with his strong bat control and encouraging contact skills relative to his age and experience, Emmanuel Morel must improve plate discipline and pitch recognition if he is to function as that top-of-the-order spark plug type hitter who needs to get on base to be effective. That’ll come in time with more at-bats and more experience, one would hope, and Morel should be aided by the fact that his swing mechanics and approach don’t require him to make too many unnecessary movements that could take him away from his role. Ultimately, Morel is no Lewis as far as future ceiling projections go, but the under-the-radar second baseman stood out to me on July 26 as the most athletic, dynamic player on the field and his raw abilities could one day play well as a super utility infielder with speed to burn.
Emmanuel Morel Scouting Report — Projection
Having yet to play full-season ball, Emmanuel Morel is a long ways from solidifying a projection and possibly ever impacting the Minnesota Twins, but there’s a lot to like in the infielder’s raw athleticism and hard-nosed style of play. A good defender at second base but without the raw tools to truly play shortstop every day at a high level, Morel may ultimately be destined for a super sub/utility infield role one day. To get there, he’ll likely play second base and/or third base at a near-everyday clip for the next few seasons in the low minors, and that’ll help him get the necessary at-bats to better recognize pitches and develop a more nuanced approach at the plate. In turn, Morel should hopefully become a disciplined, patient hitter who understands more than anything his job must be to get on base, where he can let his plus speed do all the work for him as a table-setter.
He’s still just a baby in baseball terms and a lot can happen between now and his jump into the upper minors, but Emmanuel Morel already stands out on the field and plays the game extremely hard. That attitude and work ethic will ultimately help him push up on whatever ceiling he may have, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Dominican infielder ends up consistently overachieving throughout his career. In a best-case scenario, I really like him as a future utility infielder who has an outside shot to play second on an everyday basis if he can consistently find a way to get on base at higher levels with the Minnesota Twins and use his legitimately plus speed once there.