Friday, June 19, 2015

The Most Exciting Mets Prospect Since Alex Ochoa

Maybe I damned Akeel Morris with faint praise with that headline as I didn't even have time to finish this post before Morris suffered one of the worst debuts in major league history.
I have been following Morris since early 2014 when I unwrapped my first Akeel Morris card in a pack of Bowman baseball cards.

Morris had been unimpressive in 2010 & 2011 and absolutely awful in 2012 going 0-6 with a 7.98 ERA while walking more than 5 batters per 9 innings. Dreadful stats.

But in 2013, something clicked. They gave up on using Morris as a starter and moved him to the bullpen, his walks fell (though 4.6 per 9 is still not great) and his strikeouts rose, to 12 per 9. His traditional stats were awesome too, a 1.00 ERA in 45 innings.

In 2014, he was even better 0.63 ERA, 3.47 BB/9 and more than 14 K/9. It was during this season, after I got the card, that I started to follow him and read more about him. He throws hard, hitting 95, and also has a great changeup.

After which the Mets added him to the 40-man roster so they wouldn't risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft.

But I was shocked when he started the season at single-A again. But once again he was dominant with a 1.69 ERA and striking out 13 men per 9.

That was good enough to get the call-up when the Mets needed someone and even though he was in single-A he was one of the few available healthy choices that wouldn't require them to bump someone from the 40-man to make room.

As soon as I saw the promotion I immediately went on eBay and bought 80 more cards for 12 bucks.

It was only for a couple days, what could go wrong?

Well everything that could go wrong did. A clearly nervous Morris couldn't locate his change-up and walked the first two batters. A potential double play was thwarted then a ridiculous bunt was misplayed, then a grounder snuck through the infield and then BOOM! a three run homer. Five runs, two outs in his major league debut. 67.50 ERA.

I still have hope my investment could possibly pay off. He still has good stuff. He still dominated the minor leagues and now he has a big league experience to build on.

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