On Monday the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted infield prospect Max Moroff to the major league roster. Here’s a quick take on what he has to offer.
The Pirates drafted Moroff in the 16th round in 2012 from high school in Winter Park, Florida. He could have gone ten rounds higher but was committed to college at the University of Central Florida. The Pirates changed his mind with $300,000.
He advanced rather quickly compared to some high schoolers, playing full-season ball at the age of 19 and reaching Double-A in 2015 at the age of 21. Moroff rated as a Grade C+ prospect and was ranked 15th on the Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Prospects for 2017 list pre-season, with the following comment:
15) Max Moroff, INF, Grade C+: Age 23, hit .230/.367/.349 with eight homers, 90 walks, 129 strikeouts in 421 at-bats in Triple-A; switch-hitter with average tools, not as fast or as athletic as Alen Hanson but extremely polished, especially on defense, glove at second is excellent and he can handle third and short without hurting you; very patient hitter with occasional pop but not likely to draw headlines with the bat; ETA 2017.
Playing 24 games for Indianapolis this spring, he hit .258/.345/.546 with eight homers: the pop has been more than “occasional” in the early-going this season. He’s rung up some whiffs with 32 strikeouts in 97 at-bats, but his OBP has remained steady.
A switch-hitter, Moroff is listed at 5-10, 185, born May 13, 1993. His best position is second base as the tools don’t work as well at short or third. He’s been seen as a future utility player with good on-base skills in the past, but the power surge this season is intriguing and rather unexpected.
He should not be under-estimated.