The Phillies could see Francisco Morales, one of their top pitching prospects, have a breakout season in 2020.
One of the main reasons behind the Phillies prolonged rebuild is their string of poor drafts and lack of success on the international free agent market.
Without a new class of young players following the greatest era in team history, the franchise has been thrown into a nearly decade long rebuild.
Fresh talent is finally starting to percolate in the system and MLB Pipeline is projecting the Phillies breakout prospect to be one of their recent international free agent signings.
MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum put together a list of 30 prospects who will break out in 2020 and pitcher Francisco Morales is the Phillies representative.
Here’s what they had to say about the 20-year-old Venezuelan righty after just three seasons in the Phillies minor league system.
"One of the top pitchers in the 2016-17 international signing class, Morales has tremendous raw stuff. In many ways, it played well during his full-season debut in 2019, as he struck out just over 12 batters per nine innings and held hitters to a .226 batting average. He needs to refine his command to reach his very lofty ceiling, but here’s betting he takes a big step forward in 2020."
Phillies fans have seen little of Morales, who is ranked as the organization’s sixth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He spent last year in Single-A Lakewood, pitching with a 3.82 ERA in 15 starts and 12 relief appearances with 129 strikeouts and 46 walks.
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Morales went 1-8 on the season, but Lakewood finished with a terrible record of 58-80 and allowing more than 100 more runs than they scored. Baseball fans, writers, and historians have learned to not weight wins and losses as much as they once did, conceding that pitchers don’t have complete control over those numbers.
MLB Pipeline projects Morales to be a middle of the rotation starter once he’s ready for the big leagues, while Baseball America (subscription required) sees him as a middle inning reliever. A lot of the information on him sounds like Vince Velasquez, a guy with all the stuff that projects out well, but he’s still working on his command and could move to the bullpen.
With new minor league coaching staffs across the organization, Morales could see the benefit of new eyes on his stuff.