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Roy Morales: Marlin on the Rise

Roy Morales is Miami’s current number 30 ranked prospect.

For the 2016-17 offseason, we counted down the Top 100 all-time Marlins. This offseason, we will instead cast our eyes ahead. I’ll be outlining the Top 100 Marlins prospects, as chosen by you on the ranker.com listing.

In today’s article, we’ll look into possible future big-leaguer Roy Morales. He’s a 6’1”, 207 lb. catcher from Lares, Puerto Rico. Born on June 25th, 1995, he was Miami’s 12th round choice in the 2014 amateur draft, with the 347th pick off the board.

After signing, Morales joined the GCL Marlins and slashed .224/.307/.263 in 25 games. Although that wasn’t very impressive, what did draw attention was his two strikeouts in 76 at bats, versus six walks. He had multiple hits in four of his appearances, and threw out 14-of-49 basestealers from behind the dish.

In 2015, Morales opened the season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the single-A South Atlantic League in mid-June. He slashed just .182/.294/.227 in 14 games, with three walks and five strikeouts in 51 plate appearances. In his last game before he was sent down to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs, he went three-for-three, reaching base in all four plate appearances in a 14-5 loss to the West Virginia Power. Morales put on a better show with the Muckdogs, slashing .311/.360/.352 and striking out 13 times in 137 plate appearances with 10 bases-on-balls.

Despite missing a month of the 2016 campaign with a strained right wrist, Morales put it all together with a solid .288/.374/.341 slash in 60 games with the Hoppers. He continued to show plate discipline beyond his years, drawing 22 walks and striking out 23 times in 240 plate appearances. He’s also pretty spry behind the plate:

For his efforts that season, Morales was ranked as Miami’s #20 prospect and promoted to the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League for the 2017 season.

With the Sharks, Morales continued his hitting from the season prior, with a nearly identical slash line of .288/.370/.356, with 13 walks and 12 whiffs in 119 plate appearances. He threw out runners at a 33% success rate, and was looking like a candidate for promotion to the Jumbo Shrimp when he tested positive for Stanozolol in June. He was suspended for 80 games at that time, and will return to action early next season.

Despite this, the Marlins are still putting stock in Morales, and with good reason. He displays agility not unlike J.T. Realmuto behind the plate, with a plus arm and blocking and framing skills that should be his ticket to getting called up to the bigs sometime in 2019 or 2020. Although he’s a below average runner, and has almost no power, scouts believe that his solid approach at the plate should at some point translate into some pop.