Signed by the Minnesota Twins as an international amateur free agent on July 8, 2013 out of the Dominican Republic, middle infield prospect Emmanuel Morel just wrapped his fourth professional season in the organization, and his second with the rookie level GCL Twins of the Gulf Coast League. Predominantly playing second base over the last two seasons with the GCL Twins, in 2017 alone Morel got 131 at-bats over 38 games and slashed .260/.353/.336/.689 with 10 doubles, 12 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 37 strikeouts. Over four years now split evenly between the GCL and the DSL Twins of the rookie level Dominican Summer League, Emmanuel Morel is a career .239/.354/.308/.662 hitter over 569 at-bats (173 games), with 20 doubles, eight triples, 47 stolen bases, 93 walks, and 155 strikeouts.
Still just 20 years old (DOB: May 4, 1997), Emmanuel Morel is a better prospect than his career numbers to date might suggest, and he is a perfect example of diving deep below the stat line and looking at a players physical projection and on-field movements. He’s an incredibly athletic infielder with great instincts and advanced footwork, and on the bases he’s an aggressive runner with above-average speed and very good instincts. Because of that, Morel has a shot to be an intriguing prospect as a utility infielder thanks to his advanced athleticism and tough-nosed way of playing the game, and even though he has yet to put it all together statistically for the Minnesota Twins, he’s got a supremely athletic foundation upon which to build. Below, you’ll find our full Emmanuel Morel scouting report, including game video, tool grades, projection notes, and more on the young Minnesota Twins middle infield prospect.
Emmanuel Morel, Minnesota Twins — 2017 Scouting Report
Dates observed in 2017: July 26-27
Emmanuel Morel Scouting Report, Minnesota Twins — 2017 Game Video
Emmanuel Morel Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis
It’s easy to like a guy who goes a combined 5-for-9 with three doubles and a stolen base in the two games you get to see him, but even acknowledging that blind spot, I think there’s more to Emmanuel Morel than his four summers in rookie ball for the Minnesota Twins have thus far shown. He’s a remarkably good athlete that doesn’t get enough credit for his strong, rangy, and efficient movements, and his foot speed and lateral quickness will prove to be major assets as he rises through the minors in a utility infield role. There’s no thing as a second base prospect, they say; Morel is at the position now after moving off short due to below-average arm strength (not to mention the appearance of Royce Lewis in the GCL this summer), and now it’ll be on the prospect to find his value as a glove-first utility infielder comfortable at multiple positions.
I’m bullish on Morel’s bat still developing, even after now four straight years spent in rookie ball with middling statistical results. He’s efficient and quick to the ball with a low-maintenance stance and load, and his no-nonsense approach will give him a shot to hit line drives to all fields, even if it comes with little raw power. In time, I believe offensive development will produce an average hit tool with barrel feel to all fields, though his power numbers will likely always stay well below-average. That profile is just fine, though, if Emmanuel Morel hits his realistic projection as a speedy, glove-first utility infielder coming off the bench.
Emmanuel Morel Scouting Report — Future Projection
Emmanuel Morel can’t afford to keep repeating levels as he has the last four years (two in the DSL, followed by two in the GCL), and eventually his athleticism and projectability must translate into sustained production, especially in full-season ball. But I like the infielder a lot as an underrated fringe prospect, and I don’t think he’s that far from moving up the ladder as a utility infielder to complement and track far better everyday prospects like Lewis in the Minnesota Twins system. For 2018, it’s probably likely Morel start with Elizabethton in the Appalachian League, though he could get some time in Low-A with Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League, too.
Long term, Emmanuel Morel is pretty clearly going to fit into a utility infielder role, armed with the ideal tools for it: a very good glove, great athleticism, a decent enough arm, and a contact bat with the ability to take competitive at-bats off the bench. That’s a valuable role to fill, to be sure, and Morel’s athleticism and speed should give him a nudge as he develops. I’m pretty high on this kid to reach that projection; my gut says he’s a grinder with the mentality perfect for a bench role, and I think he’ll prove himself as a hard-nosed ballplayer willing to do whatever it takes to win as he moves through the system.
Let’s not kid ourselves here: all prospect-watching eyes around the Minnesota Twins will deservedly be on Royce Lewis for the next few years, and it’s critical the club get it right with a front-line prospect like that. But having a hard-nosed player like Emmanuel Morel get by on grit and sneaky athleticism alongside Lewis will give the Twins a better, stronger big league bench that can support a winning foundation for years to come.
Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Platoon/utility infielder capable of playing across the diamond; defensive replacement/call-up floor (45)
MLB ETA: 2021