The best Mets pitching prospects I saw this year: #13 Akeel Morris

Jessica Rudman

The countdown of the best Mets prospects we saw in 2013 continues with Brooklyn righthander, Akeel Morris.

Disclaimer (because someone will ask why a player I didn't see isn't on this list): This is a ranking of the best Mets prospects I saw in person this year. This is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. I did not see Las Vegas, St. Lucie or the GCL team this year. If a player is not on the list, it is most likely because I did not see him. Otherwise, all rankings are consistent with how I would order the players within the Mets system. Oh yeah, and I am not a scout.

13. Akeel Morris, RHP

6' 1", 170 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 21.4

Acquired: 10th round, 2010

2013: 45 IP, 32.8% K, 12.6% BB, 29 H, 1 HR

Date(s) seen: 8/25/13 vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK): 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K

The short of it: Max-effort arm has always gotten swings-and-misses, but the stuff comes up short in person.

The long of it: You will see me describe several pitchers in this range as having 'high-effort mechanics.' I had to save 'max-effort' for Morris. He gets every ounce of torque and arm speed he can out of a small frame, but pays for it with an arm that drags way behind his lower half, forcing him to lean back towards first and land quite stiffly. He has a lot of trouble repeating this delivery and misses armside and up (high and tight to right-handed batters) frequently. Overcorrection can lead to a late release point and his pulling the fastball gloveside and down. Fastball is 90-93, touched 94, well-below-average command. Curveball is primary secondary offering (75-77). He maintains his armspeed well and the pitch has some tilt to it, but not enough depth to consistently miss barrels. I'm also not entrely sure he knows where it's going. He also threw a handful of mid-80s change-ups that were too firm and would cut at higher velocities.

The projection: Middle reliever

Risk Factor: Extreme. Stuff/frame is maxed out already, questions about whether he will ever consistently throw strikes with that delivery, injury red flags in the mechanics.

What’s next: Morris should finally crack full-season ball in 2014. The Mets have bounced him back and forth between starting and relieving these last two years, and despite my projection, I imagine they will, at worst, piggyback him with another starter in Savannah.

What I'll be looking for in 2014: Strikes, more of them.

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