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

TOOL (FV)
NOTES & COMMENTS
Hit (50)
Rosters claim he’s a switch-hitter; only batted RHH in my looks, even against RHP. Straightforward approach at the plate, hits to all fields. Hands start by his ear; low back elbow; relaxed stance. Compact swing with little fanfare by way of leg kick; occasionally a double toe-tap for timing. Hands are quick, and straight to the ball — proverbial ‘short to it, long through it’ hitter. Line drive approach gap-to-gap, full plate coverage. Above-average hand-eye coordination. Still learning the strike zone, but already looks like he’ll be talented in drawing walks as he progresses. Little by way of power, but tools to become an average big league hitter thanks to decent barrel skills and advanced hand-eye coordination.

Power (35)
Lacks leverage despite thick, athletic frame; more focused on making contact to all fields at present than driving the ball with authority. Line drive swing with some lift, but approach set to all-fields for contact more than drive. Decent barrel skills and above-average foot speed will help him with gap-to-gap line drive power, but little to come by way of over-the-fence pop. FV grade could improve with wholesale change in approach; enough physicality in stature and good natural strength could produce some home run pop as his career advances.

Glove (60)
Great feel for second base; soft hands and good reads on balls off the bat. Aggressive, hard-charging into the ball. Plays big at the position; knack for being well-positioned hitter to hitter, seems to show up in key moments and be where the ball’s hit. Advanced glove; could easily play across the infield with feel to forehand and backhand at each position. Quick first step to both sides off contact. Advanced glove will likely find value in future utility role.

Arm (45)
Slightly below average, perhaps a shot at improving to average with age and development. Started career as shortstop, moved off it to playing more second base recently; arm strength and projection likely the reason. Good carry on throws with decent mechanics, but lacks velocity and pop, especially from backhand. Arm strength and accuracy are both far better when set than on the run; significant area to improve here, especially for extended work on left side of the infield. Will ultimately struggle to play shortstop everyday at higher levels because of arm strength; profiles better there at second or third, or in utility role filling in short stints as needed.

Speed (60)
Had him 4.21 – 4.26 out of RHH box. Plus runner with good mechanics who can be extremely aggressive on the base paths. Still learning how to steal bases, but very engaged and quick reactions to pitchers and pickoff moves; should learn quickly with experience. Hustles hard, runs very well with quick first step. Some jailbreak; good running mechanics and gains ground immediately on first step with little wasted motion. Moves like a running back; strong, low to the ground. Speed manifests as quick first step on defense, as well. Stands out among teammates and opponents in GCL; far and away the best athlete on the field in my GCL looks.

Intangibles
Hustles extremely hard; hard-nosed with good work habits and underdog mentality. Plays hard in every situation; hustled out ground balls and got after it with team down a dozen runs and in triple-digit temperatures. High-energy athlete. Thick, athletic frame; heavier than his 150-lb. list weight with some good musculature. Modest room to keep growing into his body though; just 20 years old and still a little ways from final physical form. Strong hands and wrists will help him at the plate in time. Effort and intensity ideal for spark plug role off the bench.

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 minnesota twins baseball 2




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




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