Name: Eduardo Morlan
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: March 1, 1986
Eduardo Morlan is one of those pitching prospects that really excites you with his arsenal of pitches, and his extremely high ceiling as a Major League prospect. Taken in the third round of the 2004 draft, Morlan signed with the Twins for 420,000 dollars. After the Twins discovered he had an enlarged heart, he was shut down until the Twins were absolutely sure that he was alright, and then he was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Twins.
It did not take Morlan long to show that he belonged playing professional baseball, as he was one of the better pitchers in the Gulf Coast League during the 2004 season. He appeared in 11 games, starting two, and he struck out better than one batter per inning. He also saved one game, as he allowed only one home run during the 25 innings of work he put in.
During the 2005 season, Morlan began the year with Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, but quickly showed he was far to good for the Apply League. In four games, all starts, he posted an 0.82 earned run average, as he made Appalachian League batters look absolutely silly. Some of his numbers were staggering, as he struck out 30 batters, walked only six, and held opponents to a .085 batting average. In 22 innings of work, he only allowed six hits, and was promptly promoted to Beloit of the Midwest League.
Getting his first taste of full-season baseball, Morlan had mixed reviews at the Low-A level. Being only 19-years old in the Midwest League is an accomplishment in itself, but he showed the ability to be both dominant, and wild. In his ten starts, he held the opposition to a .207 batting average, but it was his 31 walks in 51 innings that really did him in.
Still, he fanned better than a batter an inning, as he won a career-best four games. In 2006, he may once again be with the Snappers, but if he has a good spring, could be pushed to High-A Fort Myers.
In 2006, Morlan was back with Beloit, but this time, he showed the kind of stuff that makes him a top prospect in the Twins organization. Morlan was used in both the rotation, and the bullpen, and he showed that he can pitch in any role. He finished the year with a 2.29 earned run average, and 28 of his 18 appearances were starts.
He won five games, saved two, pitched a complete game, and struck out better than a batter per inning. His opponents batted only .202 against him, and he really showed great command, walking only 38 on the year.
In 2007, Morlan figures to be in the starting rotation in Fort Myers, though he could just as well be in New Britain to start the year. He is being fast tracked to the Major Leagues now, and even Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire likes what Morlan brings to the table.
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup
Fastball. Morlan has a very live fastball, and it is a pitch that he has really worked on to gain command of over the last two years. While his heater usually sits in the low-90s, he has been known to crank it up to 97 miles per hour on some occasions, and he can now put it anywhere he wants. It is a pitch that he really relies on, and is one of the main reasons why he has put up such good strikeout numbers over his short career so far with the Minnesota Twins organization.
Other Pitches. Some scouts believe that it is with his off-speed pitches that Morlan really sets himself apart from other pitching prospects, which is saying a lot considering he throws in the mid-90s. His curveball, which is one of the top five curveballs in the organization, can be almost unhittable at times. This is really his outpitch, as he worked a third pitch, a changeup, into his arsenal during extended spring training in 2005. He seems to have confidence in the change as well, and now has one of the better three-pitch arsenals in the Twins organization.
Pitching. Morlan is a great pitcher, and he is the kind of player who can excel in any situation. He loves to toe the rubber, and this past Spring Training, he could be seen working in many different roles. He knows how to prepare to start, but he also has shown the ability to close out games. He has a nice move to first base, and he also knows how to bear down in tough situations.
Projection. To be perfectly honest, Morlan's arsenal is far too good to be used only as a relief pitcher. He has three pitches that project as plus pitches, and he now has tremendous command of his stuff. I like what he brings to a team's rotation, and he has the ability to eat innings. He has had some problems with keeping his stamina up over the course of a year, but he can easily go nine innings on any given day. However, he also has had great success coming out of the bullpen, and could be moved to a closer role if the Twins feel he can handle that kind of pressure in the future.
ETA. Late 2008. Coming into the 2006 season, Morlan was not very known to most Twins fans. Last winter, prospect Danny Santiesteban said that Morlan could develop into one of the top pitching prospects in the Twins organization, and Morlan has done just that. He is a very versatile pitcher, who the Twins could find very useful towards the end of next season. He still has some seasoning to do, but the Twins feel that he is the kind of prospect that is on the cusp of becoming one of the better pitching prospects in all of Minor League baseball this season. I expect him to be in Double-A at some point this season, and make his Major League debut in 2008.