The Jays Journal staff returns with our yearly Top 30 prospect rankings. The #30 spot goes to University of Virginia drafted middle infielder Tanner Morris.
Name: Tanner Morris
Position: 2B/SS Age: 21
Height: 6’2” Weight: 190lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Acquired: 5th Round Pick in 2019, 147th Overall
Tanner Morris is a native of Crozet, Virginia and completed two years for University of Virginia where he played primarily shortstop but going into his draft he was predicted to end up more of a second basemen. In his two seasons of college ball he showed great strike zone awareness as he walked more than he struck out and finished with a .323 batting average and .427 on base percentage. What is impressive about this, as although it is college, it was done in the Atlantic Coast Conference which is known as one of top NCAA leagues.
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Morris also played one summer in the Cape Cod League where he batted .331 and had a .404 on base percentage. Again, another impressive was that Morris was able to translate similar numbers at college to the wood bat Cap Code League.
Entering the 2019 MLB Draft MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Fangraphs each predicted Morris would go somewhere between 100-124 in the draft, but the Blue Jays were able to get him in the fifth round and 147th Overall. Instead of going back for another season of college baseball, Morris signed just days after the draft at a slightly over slot value and settled at around $400,000.
Blue Jays assigned Morris to Class A short season in Vancouver and he made his professional debut on June 14. In his first year, Morris split his time almost completely in half between shortstop and second base; and showed very similar defensive numbers at both. The left-handed hitter struggled against left handed pitchers as he batted just .156, while he batted .267 against right handed pitching. Morris also showed throughout the season he was getting more comfortable at the plate as he batted just .213 in June, but picked up to .253 in July and .263 in August. Like college, he showed plate discipline as he finished near a walk per strikeout and had a .384 on base percentage.
Hitting for contact appears to be Morris’ best asset, however across the board his skill level seems to be pretty solid. Fangraphs has his hitting as a 35/55 which shows that although he has been pretty decent so far, he projects to get even better at the plate. Morris will likely start the season in Lansing but could make a quick jump to Dunedin if he continues to show good awareness at the plate.
There are a lot of similarities between Morris and current Blue Jay Cavan Biggio: Both were drafted as middle infielders, both were fifth round picks by the Blue Jays, both are left handed bats and both played for Harwich in the Cape Cod League. The question is, can Morris follow a similar path through the system to reach Toronto.
What are your projections for Virginia’s Tanner Morris?