Phillies Prospect #32: Javon Moran

After a blistering start to his pro career, Javon Moran has slowed slightly. Perhaps 2009 will be the year that he busts out and looks to reopen some eyes that had turned away from him.

Acquired: Originally drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2003 Draft. After being dealt to Cincinnati, he was later reacquired from the Reds.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 5' 11"  Weight: 175 lbs.
Birth Date: September 30, 1982
2008 Team(s): Reading (83 G), Lehigh Valley (13 G)
Positions/Games: LF (54 G), CF (33 G), RF (9 G)
School: Auburn University
2008 Ranking: 2003

Why Moran fell to 32: When the Phillies traded Javon Moran to the Cincinnati Reds in the Cory Lidle deal back in 2004, he was a tough prospect to give up. In the Reds organization, he continued to build on his numbers and seemed to be picking up speed at every turn. For a while, he was doing just about everything right and it looked like the Phillies were pretty lucky to get him back in the deal that sent Jeff Conine to Cincinnati. The problem is, that with the exception of his short stint at Triple-A in 2008, he hasn't shown all of the same skills that he was putting on display earlier in his minor league career. It's very possible that the challenge of playing at the games' top level is exactly what he needs and it would appear he should get his chance this season. In his time with the Reds organization, Moran hit .332 (226-for-680), while he's hit .273 (403-for-1475) while playing in the Phillies organization.

Category Javon Moran 2008-AA Eastern League Averages
AB/2B 19.4 18.9
AB/3B 165.0 150.0
AB/HR 330.0 41.36
AB/RBI 19.4 7.74
AB/R 7.17 7.23
AB/BB 11.0 9.54
AB/KO 6.35 4.92
AVG .252 .264
OBP .321 .338
SB % 91% 67%
Categories with numbers in white show areas where the player outperferformed the average player in the Eastern League during the 2008 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: For being a player whose game is built primarily around getting on base and making things happen, Moran strikes out a little more often than the Phillies would like him to and it wouldn't hurt if he drew a few more walks. He has the ability to hit for a good average, but won't post much in the way of power numbers, which is fine, because the Phillies originally drafted him because of his speed and raw skills.

Baserunning and Speed: One thing that Moran didn't improve on while he was with the Reds was his stolen base percentage. In fact, he had very normal type percentages while in the Reds organization and didn't continue to steal bases at the high numbers that he did earlier in his career. This is a kid who stole 27 bases in just 60 games in his first pro season and followed that up with 52 in his first full-season leagues the following year. Since then though, he's averaged just 23 per season. He should at least be pushing the 40 stolen base mark with the kind of speed that he's able to generate.

Defense: While he's best suited for center field, Moran can play all three outfield positions. Because of his speed and the jump that he gets on a ball, he will simply outrun a lot of fly balls that other players wouldn't be able to get to. His arm is sub-par and he lacks both accuracy and strength on his throws.

Projection: Javon Moran has a lot of talent and as mentioned earlier, he could simply be a little bored with playing below the Triple-A level. It's going to be interesting to see what he can do if he's given the chance to play at the Triple-A level. With a little more honing of his skills, he has the potential to be an everyday player in the majors, but as it stands now, he would more likely be suited to be a utility player to come off the bench in the big leagues. This could be a very interesting season for Moran, who would be eligible for minor league free agency following the 2009 season if he's not added to the 40 man roster following the season.

ETA: Moran is likely not ready for the majors right now. Actually, a full season at the Triple-A level wouldn't hurt him and if he's able to show his true talent there and make the adjustment with little difficulty, he could be in line for a September audition.

Comparison: There have been some comparisons to Juan Pierre, but Moran has more raw talent and a better work ethic. Best case scenario is that he becomes the player that Pierre was early in his career and continues to put up those types of numbers and worst case scenario is that he becomes the Juan Pierre of today, who spends each off-season looking for work.

career stats

Rookie 0 0 .000 2 3 1 0 0 0 1 100% 2 0 .400 .000
Low-A 1 12 .284 60 250 33 71 9 3 27 71% 16 32 .327 .356
A 2 45 .303 126 515 84 156 20 9 52 72% 34 93 .345 .388
High-A 2 26 .327 66 266 43 87 6 2 18 62% 18 43 .378 .387
Double-A 4 50 .288 236 918 146 264 45 8 68 73% 80 137 .351 .367
Triple-A 1 8 .251 52 203 33 51 10 3 8 80% 14 49 .311 .345
TOTALS 10 141 .292 542 2155 340 629 90 25 174 72% 164 354 .347 .371

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