Top 10 Minor League 1st Half Stories: #6

Now that the Minor League full-season teams have reached the halfway point of their respective seasons, TwinCitiesDugout.com takes a look at the Top-10 performances of the first half. In our #6 selection, we look at the progression of Eduardo Morlan, who went from a reliever to the staff ace over the course of the 2006 season, earning himself an All-Star Game selection.

Coming into the 2006 season, nobody really expected Eduardo Morlan to be the ace of the Beloit Snappers. The Cuban right-hander had shown a lot of promise after being selected in the third round of the 2004 draft, but was not considered a top prospect by any means. However, he has been a bulldog on the mound for Beloit this season, and seems poised for his first taste of High-A ball either later in the season, or next year.

After Morlan was drafted in 2004, he was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins. While in the Gulf Coast League, it did not take Morlan long to get acclimated to professional baseball, as he worked from both the bullpen and the rotation. In 11 games, making two starts, the young right-hander posted a 2.84 earned run average, and struck out better than a batter per inning.

The following season, Morlan was slated for the Appalachian League, to pitch for the Elizabethton Twins. Working strictly from the rotation, it was clear that the Apply League was just too easy for him, and he was promoted to Beloit of the Midwest League. During his time in the Appalachian League, Morlan posted a minuscule ERA of 0.82 in four starts, as he held the opposition to a .085 batting average. He also struck out 30 batters in his 22.2 innings of work, while walking only six.

Once he was promoted for his first taste of full-season ball, Morlan quickly became a steady part of the Beloit starting rotation. He made ten starts for the Snappers, and struck out better than a batter per inning. He did struggle with his control in the Midwest League, walking 31 batters in 51 innings, mostly due to a glitch in his mechanics that were worked out.

This season, Morlan has been on another level, using his incredible off-speed pitches, along with his mid-90s fastball to baffle Midwest League hitters. Though he is recently down due to an injury, Morlan has been a beast since returning to the rotation, and has posted a 2.79 earned run average in 11 starts.

At the beginning of the season, Morlan was used in a late-inning/closer role, and had an 1.17 earned run average in that capacity. However, with his arsenal of pitches, it was clear that he belonged in the starting rotation, and he has taken off ever since. He was named to the Midwest League All-Star Game, and should be ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 20 prospects in the Midwest League at the end of the season.

While Morlan continues to round into a top pitching prospect, there is no doubt that Fort Myers fans can expect his arrival fairly soon. He is 20-years old, which means he has plenty of time to develop, and most Twins writers feel he is going to be something special. With the allotment of arms in the Twins system, it is tough to get excited over a certain pitcher, but with his bag of pitches, Morlan is one of those guys who you enjoy watching develop everyday.


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