The Cincinnati Reds made another roster move today, promoting right-handed pitcher A.J. Morris to the big leagues. Morris has been around the minors for a long time and was once considered a very solid prospect, but is just now reaching the Show at age 29. Here's a quick take.
Born in Houston, Texas, Morris attended college at Kansas State University and was drafted in the fourth round in 2009 by the Washington Nationals. In 2011 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs as part of a deal involving Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Burgess, but he hurt his elbow and missed the entire season following surgery. He came back in 2012 and performed adequately but never really stood out in the Cubs system. The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed him on waivers in 2014 and he spent two years in their system, pitching reasonably well in the high minors including a 2.44 ERA and a 72/22 K/BB in 85 innings in Triple-A last year.
He signed with the Reds as a free agent for 2016. He made six starts and three relief appearances for Triple-A Louisville before his promotion, with a 2.70 ERA and a 21/9 K/BB in 30 innings.
Morris is 6-2, 195, age 29. He does not throw especially hard for a right-hander, his fastball generally in the 88-91 range. It has some sinking action and he is generally a ground ball pitcher who (at least in the minors) allows few homers. His main secondary pitch is an average slider. When used in relief he sticks mainly with those two pitches, but I've seen him work with change-upy stuff on the outside part of the plate in some minor league starts.
Overall there is nothing spectacular about Morris but when he keeps the ball down and throws strikes he looks like a competent long reliever.
Here's a good look at his breaking ball:
This video is a couple of years old but gives the general idea of how Morris work hitters.