Scouting Yankees Prospect #37: Taylor Morton

The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Taylor Morton in the 9th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Bartlett High School in Tennessee. He had to wait until 2011 to make his professional debut but it was well worth the wait when it was all said and done.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Taylor Morton
Position: Pitcher
DOB: December 18, 1991
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"It was a fun year," Morton said. "It was rough being the first year and stuff, just getting used to everything. It took longer than I thought it would to be acclimated to everything, get comfortable, and be 100 percent, but after I got the hang of it, it was fun."

It sure didn't appear to be rough for him statistically as he went 3-2 with a 1.98 ERA and just eight walks in 50 innings for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his debut season. He says the biggest key was pitching in the zone.

"Throwing strikes, throwing strikes and making the hitters hit the ball and the defense will take care of everything," he said of his game plan. "I thought the defense did a great job of making plays [behind me]. As a pitcher all you can do is throw strikes, command your fastball, and get ahead in the count, and let the defense do the rest."

While it is the advanced fastball command that is one of the first things that jumps out at scouts the fact is he can be overpowering too for a younger hurler, averaging 91-92 mph in his first year as a 19-year old.

"He was able to command his fastball and once a pitcher is able to establish his fastball, he can use his other pitches," GCL Yankees manager Carlos Mendoza said. "He was the ace of the staff. For him, throwing that fastball any time he wanted, especially early in the count and get ahead of the hitters, was a big help for him."

That wasn't the only thing that helped him, however. Blessed with an advanced changeup too gave him exactly the complimentary weapon he needed to keep hitters off-balance.

"My changeup is definitely my favorite pitch to throw," Morton said. "It can definitely still improve, but I felt comfortable throwing [the changeup] even behind in the count. I'm not a strikeout pitcher so I throw it, get contact, and get outs."

While the fastball-changeup combination is advanced for such a young pitcher, the slower development of his breaking ball has been the lone question mark in an otherwise solid game.

"I feel like that will be a strikeout pitch eventually," Morton opined. "It's close, I just haven't found the release point with it consistently. I still have a lot of work to do with it, but it's not like it's far from being there."

And that's what make the complete package all the more enticing for scouts and team officials alike, the prospects of having an above average to plus slider to go with his other two big league pitches.

"When I saw him in Extended he was still working on the slider," Staten Island coach Danny Borrell said. "A couple of games it would be really good and then other times you could tell he was searching for it. But at the end, especially in Instructs, I saw some great quality sliders from him.

"If that slider is going to be like that next year, now you'll have a kid with three plus pitches who can throw them for strikes. When you're 19 years old, that's a pretty good thing to have."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2011

Staten Island

0-1

0

5.0

6

2

3

5.40

2011

GCL Yankees

3-2

0

50.0

49

8

35

1.98



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Where Morton made significant progress in his debut season was actually on the radar gun. Once averaging 88-92 mph when he first signed, he was averaging more in the 91-92 mph range in the Gulf Coast League and topping out at 95 mph. That high-water mark wasn't too surprising, however, considering he did hit that back in high school on the days he pitched out of the bullpen. Throw in his advanced fastball command and given his projectable body that could allow him to throw even harder down the road, his fastball is above average right now with plus potential.

Other Pitches. What makes Morton truly advanced for his age is his plus changeup. It is the mirror image of his fastball delivery-wise and already gets good fade to it, and just like his fastball he can command his changeup consistently. Morton's slider, which sits 83-87 mph, can be a true plus pitch on certain days and other days it isn't even a weapon he can go to because the break and command can escape him.

Pitching: Morton, who will pitch the entire 2012 season as a 20-year old, pitches like a big league veteran in a lot of ways. He uses a loose arm action to throw strike after strike with his fastball and changeup, trying to get them to pound the ball in the dirt and let his defense work behind him. He is very efficient on the mound and he is therefore able to conserve his power for later in the games. A former catcher, he is quite athletic, fields his position well, and is adept at holding runners. He also shows high baseball acumen, leading many scouts to believe the necessary adjustments to his slider are inevitable down the road.

Projection. Morton has nearly everything in place to safely project as a future middle of the rotation starting pitcher someday; command of an above average fastball and a plus changeup, efficiency, consistency, and he has the type of body that suggests durability. He really needs to get his slider consistent, however, to truly fulfill that kind of role. Keep a close eye on his fastball too. He has some hidden power in his arm that could allow him to throw a tick or two harder and with further enhancements to his breaking ball he could have an even higher ceiling if things fall into place.

ETA. 2016. Morton appears ready to break Spring Training in the long-season leagues with the Charleston RiverDogs in 2012 and could move up a level later in the year if the slider gets more consistent.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Taylor Morton
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: December 18, 1991
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 195
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a fun year,\" Morton said. \"It was rough being the first year and stuff, just getting used to everything. It took longer than I thought it would to be acclimated to everything, get comfortable, and be 100 percent, but after I got the hang of it, it was fun.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt sure didn't appear to be rough for him statistically as he went 3-2 with a 1.98 ERA and just eight walks in 50 innings for the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his debut season. He says the biggest key was pitching in the zone.
\r\n
\r\n\"Throwing strikes, throwing strikes and making the hitters hit the ball and the defense will take care of everything,\" he said of his game plan. \"I thought the defense did a great job of making plays [behind me]. As a pitcher all you can do is throw strikes, command your fastball, and get ahead in the count, and let the defense do the rest.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile it is the advanced fastball command that is one of the first things that jumps out at scouts the fact is he can be overpowering too for a younger hurler, averaging 91-92 mph in his first year as a 19-year old.
\r\n
\r\n\"He was able to command his fastball and once a pitcher is able to establish his fastball, he can use his other pitches,\" GCL Yankees manager Carlos Mendoza said. \"He was the ace of the staff. For him, throwing that fastball any time he wanted, especially early in the count and get ahead of the hitters, was a big help for him.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat wasn't the only thing that helped him, however. Blessed with an advanced changeup too gave him exactly the complimentary weapon he needed to keep hitters off-balance.
\r\n
\r\n\"My changeup is definitely my favorite pitch to throw,\" Morton said. \"It can definitely still improve, but I felt comfortable throwing [the changeup] even behind in the count. I'm not a strikeout pitcher so I throw it, get contact, and get outs.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the fastball-changeup combination is advanced for such a young pitcher, the slower development of his breaking ball has been the lone question mark in an otherwise solid game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like that will be a strikeout pitch eventually,\" Morton opined. \"It's close, I just haven't found the release point with it consistently. I still have a lot of work to do with it, but it's not like it's far from being there.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd that's what make the complete package all the more enticing for scouts and team officials alike, the prospects of having an above average to plus slider to go with his other two big league pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I saw him in Extended he was still working on the slider,\" Staten Island coach Danny Borrell said. \"A couple of games it would be really good and then other times you could tell he was searching for it. But at the end, especially in Instructs, I saw some great quality sliders from him.
\r\n
\r\n\"If that slider is going to be like that next year, now you'll have a kid with three plus pitches who can throw them for strikes. When you're 19 years old, that's a pretty good thing to have.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 5.0

\r\n

\r\n 6

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 5.40

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n 3-2

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 50.0

\r\n

\r\n 49

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 35

\r\n

\r\n 1.98


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Where Morton made significant progress in his debut season was actually on the radar gun. Once averaging 88-92 mph when he first signed, he was averaging more in the 91-92 mph range in the Gulf Coast League and topping out at 95 mph. That high-water mark wasn't too surprising, however, considering he did hit that back in high school on the days he pitched out of the bullpen. Throw in his advanced fastball command and given his projectable body that could allow him to throw even harder down the road, his fastball is above average right now with plus potential.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. What makes Morton truly advanced for his age is his plus changeup. It is the mirror image of his fastball delivery-wise and already gets good fade to it, and just like his fastball he can command his changeup consistently. Morton's slider, which sits 83-87 mph, can be a true plus pitch on certain days and other days it isn't even a weapon he can go to because the break and command can escape him.
\r\n
\r\nPitching: Morton, who will pitch the entire 2012 season as a 20-year old, pitches like a big league veteran in a lot of ways. He uses a loose arm action to throw strike after strike with his fastball and changeup, trying to get them to pound the ball in the dirt and let his defense work behind him. He is very efficient on the mound and he is therefore able to conserve his power for later in the games. A former catcher, he is quite athletic, fields his position well, and is adept at holding runners. He also shows high baseball acumen, leading many scouts to believe the necessary adjustments to his slider are inevitable down the road.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Morton has nearly everything in place to safely project as a future middle of the rotation starting pitcher someday; command of an above average fastball and a plus changeup, efficiency, consistency, and he has the type of body that suggests durability. He really needs to get his slider consistent, however, to truly fulfill that kind of role. Keep a close eye on his fastball too. He has some hidden power in his arm that could allow him to throw a tick or two harder and with further enhancements to his breaking ball he could have an even higher ceiling if things fall into place.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2016. Morton appears ready to break Spring Training in the long-season leagues with the Charleston RiverDogs in 2012 and could move up a level later in the year if the slider gets more consistent.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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