The Royals acquired the strong, athletic Morel from Washington as part of the Kelvin Herrera trade in June, after the Nationals signed him as raw outfield convert just prior to his 17th birthday. Morel made his stateside debut in the AZL, striking out over a batter per inning in 43.2 innings. I caught a look at him during instructs this October.
Morel has grown well beyond his listed 6’0” and 170-pound frame, now closer to a physical and athletic 6’2” and 190. He has a strong starter’s frame and at barely 18-years-old, he projects to add a few ticks of power to his arsenal. Morel’s athletic delivery has a burst of downhill acceleration to home plate from a three-quarters slot with a clean and fast arm action. He doesn’t generate much angle from a lower slot, but gets solid tailing action on the fastball to all parts of the zone. Morel can already command the pitch to both sides of the plate, and if he grows into more velocity, the fastball can be a future 55 or 60-grade pitch. His best secondary is a changeup at 86-to-87 mph. Despite fringy separation, he keeps it from the same slot as his fastball and it flashes quality fade that allows it to play against both righties and lefties. It projects to plus with continued development. Morel’s slider was 82 mph and crude, bouncing the two he showed. There’s tight spin and some bite on the pitch, and while it takes some dreaming, the slider has the ingredients of at least an average pitch.
At only 18 years-old and yet to appear off the complex, Morel is a long way off from the majors. The ingredients are all here for a mid-rotation starter, as Morel’s frame and athleticism project well for continued gains in both stuff and command.