No single prospect currently frustrates the San Diego Padres and their staff more than pitcher Adrian Morejon.
With unlimited potential, the future seems very bright for San Diego Padres’ left-handed pitching prospect Adrian Morejon. Or does it?
The native of Cuba signed with the Padres during the 2016-17 international signing period as the pitcher agreed to an $11 million deal with A.J. Preller and his staff. Armed with three plus-pitches and an ability to change speeds on his changeup, Morejon certainly does not lack stuff when he toes the rubber.
There is a tremendous amount of upside when it comes to Adrian Morejon, there is no doubt about that. The southpaw just needs to find consistency. Sure, every young player lacks this trait, but it goes beyond that with Morejon, who seems to take two steps forward and one step back continuously as he learns the nuances of the game.
The 20-year-old is exceptionally young and already made his major league debut, so we are not talking about a prospect who is toiling in the low minors. Morejon is three days younger than phenom MacKenzie Gore and very capable of blossoming in the correct situation. But what will it take to get better results from this young prospect?
In speaking to some who evaluate the Padres’ organization, they would like to see some more toughness from the young pitcher. Morejon has continually battled nagging injuries throughout his brief career. More often or not, he has spent time on the shelf with a litany of injuries. San Diego has admittedly taken it slow with the pitcher when he shows any sign of wear. You must do so with young arms, or things will quickly escalate into permanent damage. So perhaps this criticism of Morejon is more appropriate if you direct it towards the team and their handling of him.
However, it goes beyond injuries. The Cuban pitcher can sometimes display characteristics that are concerning. If a player makes an error behind you or you allow a crucial walk in a vital situation – you need to shake it off. More often than not, there will be times in a game when your back is against the wall. The pitchers that excel are the ones who can withstand these tough times and learn from them.
Maturing is part of the game. Adrian Morejon has plenty of time to grow in the game of baseball. If he can figure it all out and find a balance on the mound, the Padres could have another potential top-of-the-order pitcher. Take a look at this scouting report from Brooks Baseball.
Basic description of 2019 pitches compared to other LHP:
His four-seam fastball is thrown at a speed that’s borderline unfair, has less armside movement than typical, and has some natural sinking action. His curve is thrown extremely hard, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ curves, has little depth, and has slight glove-side movement. His splitter (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 18 of them in 2019) has surprising cut action, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ splitters, and is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ splitters. His change (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 10 of them in 2019) is thrown extremely hard, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ changeups, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ changeups, has slight cut action and has some natural sink to it.
(*Information courtesy Brooks Baseball)
Morejon recorded a 10.13 ERA in five games, and eight innings pitched at the major league level. The Cuban pitcher allowed runs in all but one contest, showing the shakiness you’d expect to witness from a young pitcher. His fastball velocity averaged 96.4 mph, and he backed that up with a curve in the low 80’s. His changeup averaged 88.4 mph as the lefty struggled and overthrew the pitch a bit. Expect his numbers to improve as he gets comfortable and can subtract velocity on the pitch.
There is a tremendous ceiling for Adrian Morejon. If the pitcher can figure out the mental aspect of the game and continue to improve, he could very well be one of the best Padres prospects in the whole system when it is all said and done. The Padres have taken it slow with the lefty throughout his minor league career. Still, the 2020 season may be a time when we see the training wheels come off, and Adrian Morejon shows that competitive spirit which is needed to advance.