Tuesday, January 1, 2013

#18 Pirates Prospect - Max Moroff

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#18 - Max Moroff

Measurables: 6'0, 175
Bats: S, Throws: R

Position: SS
Acquired: 16th Round (496th), 2012
Bonus: $300,000
DOB: 05/13/1993
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked


In 2012, the Pirates were faced with a tough choice with the #8 overall pick in the draft.  On one hand, the Pirates had allegedly had a pre-draft deal with prep outfielder David Dahl.  On the other hand, expected #1 overall pick Mark Appel, a pitcher from Stanford widely recognized as a consensus top-five talent in the draft fell to the eight spot. With him came agent Scott Boras and high bonus demands.  The Pirates rolled the dice and picked Appel.  In an effort to sign him without losing a draft pick under the new CBA, the Pirates freed up extra money to offer Appel by selecting easy college signs in rounds six, , 9 and 10.  Unfortunately, Appel did not sign and the Pirates had extra money to throw around at prep players drafted outside the top ten rounds.

Max Moroff was one of those players.  A shortstop drafted in the 16th round, Moroff signed for $200,000 over the limit. That investment has looked fantastic so far, even though admittedly the sample size is small.  First, Moroff stands out because he's a legitimate shortstop.  He's got good athleticism, he's smooth, and he's got a strong arm, giving him a really good chance to stick at short far into the future.

Moroff also has plenty of offensive upside.  He's got a solid frame, quick wrists, and plenty of bat speed.  Early results in pro ball also indicate he has good plate discipline.  In 89 plate appearances - again a small sample size - Moroff posted a .343/.471/.433 line.  Moroff's hit tool was present, although he did benefit from a .386 BABIP.  One negative: Moroff didn't show much power, only hitting 1 home run and 3 doubles in 19 hits for a .090 ISO.  However, the most impressive part of Moroff's production was his on-base percentage fueled by his walk rate.  In those same 89 plate appearances, he walked 17 times, a 19.1% rate.  He also only struck out 11 times in the same span, a low 12.4%.  From every angle, Moroff showed tremendous plate discipline, especially for someone so young and for someone tasting professional ball for the first time.  Moroff is a long way off and will have many hurdles to cross, but he's got a shot to be a plus offensive - depending on his power development - and defensive shortstop, a rarity in the major leagues. 


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