Adam Morgan (baseball)
Morgan with the Philadelphia Phillies
|Philadelphia Phillies – No. 46|
|Born: February 27, 1990|
|June 21, 2015, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|MLB statistics |
(through May 24, 2019)
|Earned run average||4.73|
After growing up and playing high school baseball in Marietta, Georgia, he enrolled at the University of Alabama, where, as his father had done, he played college baseball. The Phillies drafted him in the third round of the 2011 MLB draft. Morgan was among the top pitching prospects in the organization until a torn rotator cuff caused him to miss all of the 2014 season. He made his major league debut in 2015. He became a relief pitcher in 2017.
Morgan was born to Wiley and Karen Morgan, and has a younger brother named Grant. He attended Kell High School ('08) in Marietta, Georgia, where he played baseball on a team that went to the state playoffs three times. He also played on various travel teams, including in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
Morgan attended the University of Alabama, where he played college baseball for the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team. His father had played college baseball as a pitcher at the university. With Alabama, he developed a "devastating slider" that contributed to high strikeout rates throughout his career. He notched the first complete game of his collegiate career in an outing against Georgia Tech in the 2010 NCAA Baseball Regional. His junior year, he formed part of a tandem atop Alabama's starting rotation that helped lead the Crimson Tide back to the NCAA Super Regional.
The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Morgan in the third round of the 2011 MLB Draft, and assigned him to the Williamsport Crosscutters of the Class A-Short Season New York-Pennsylvania League, with whom he compiled a 3–3 win/loss record and a 2.01 earned run average (ERA) and 43 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. Advancing to the Clearwater Threshers of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League in 2012, Morgan made 20 starts and struck out 10.24 batters per nine innings (5th in the league) with 28 walks and 140 strikeouts (2nd) in 123 innings, and a second-best in the league 5.00 strikeouts/walk ratio. That earned him a promotion to the Reading Phillies of the Class AA Eastern League in August with whom he was 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.
After notching an "impressive" performance with Reading, the Phillies invited him to spring training in 2013. A column written years later noted, "At 22, he was seen as one of the most advanced pitching prospects in the organization, and a call-up to the big club seemed imminent for sometime in 2013 ... However, as happens with pitchers, Morgan suffered a setback." Pitching for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the Class AAA International League, after pitching to a record of 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 79.1 innings, Morgan suffered a torn rotator cuff in his left throwing shoulder in May 2013, which required surgery; he did not undergo surgery, however, until January, and thus missed the 2014 season. After the 2014 season, the Phillies added Morgan to their 40-man roster.
Entering 2015 fully healthy with improved mechanics, he looked to re-establish himself in the IronPigs' starting rotation before a potential call-up to the major leagues later in the season. Morgan began the 2015 season with Lehigh Valley, and posted a record of 0–6 with a 4.74 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 68.1 innings in 13 starts. His mediocre statistics notwithstanding, minor league talent evaluator Matt Winkelman commented that Morgan's "velocity [is] almost back and slider is almost there."
In 2016 with the IronPigs he was 6-1 with a 3.04 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 50.1 innings.
Morgan began the 2015 season with Lehigh Valley, and the Phillies promoted him to the major leagues to make his debut on June 21 despite him posting a poor record with Lehigh Valley. Morgan pitched 52⁄3 innings in his debut, which came against the St. Louis Cardinals. He allowed only one run, and earned the win, also earning an opportunity to start a second game. Morgan started the first game after the All-Star break for the Phillies, and although one columnist opined that he "deserves better" than to be removed from a game with a low pitch count only to have the lead he helped build evaporate, the Phillies ended up earning the win, and Morgan received praise from interim manager Pete Mackanin, who said Morgan "showed no fear" on the mound. Mackanin expressed a willingness to let Morgan pitch in tough situations to see how he would respond during the second half of the season. Through his first several starts, Morgan showed promise of developing into a legitimate middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starter, but needed to focus on keeping the ball down to avoid allowing hitters to make solid contact and hit home runs, something they had done five times in his first five starts. In 2015 with the Phillies he was 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 84.1 innings.
On August 14, 2016, he was recalled by the Phillies. In 2016 with the Phillies he was 2-11, with a 6.04 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 113.1 innings.
Morgan made the 2017 Opening Day roster as a relief pitcher. He was optioned to Lehigh Valley two weeks later, after struggling in two appearances. Morgan considered retiring, but reported to Lehigh Valley and returned to the major leagues briefly in May and again in June. After his June promotion, Morgan's fastball velocity increased from 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) to 97 miles per hour (156 km/h) as he acclimated to pitching as a reliever. In 2017, he was 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 54.2 innings.
In 2018, he was 0-2 with one save and a 3.83 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 49.1 innings.
Morgan is a control pitcher who lacks overwhelming velocity, instead relying on maintaining command of his pitches to retire hitters. He relies on three predominant pitches – a fastball that seldom exceeds 92 miles per hour (148 km/h), and mostly stays in the 89 miles per hour (143 km/h) range, a slider with which he can generate swings and misses, a changeup, and an occasional curveball. Phillies' interim manager Pete Mackanin praised Morgan's feel for pitching, and said of his pitching style: "He knows what he’s doing. He knows how to mix his pitches, change speeds. He has that excellent changeup to fool a lot of hitters with, and when he spots his fastball down in the zone, he’s a real good pitcher." After another start, Mackanin once again complimented Morgan's changeup, this time referring to it as a "Bugs Bunny changeup".
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