One of the Blue Jays top 30 prospects is a promising talent from behind the dish; 21-year-old, Gabriel Moreno.
Moreno, from Venezuela, joined the blue birds’ organization, signing on August 3rd 2016 on an international free agent contract. This wasn’t a hard choice for the club to make. This kid has tools and a solid makeup for his position as a catcher. He was originally a shortstop and entertained the idea of making the switch. His traits as a shortstop bled over behind the plate, maintaining a high IQ of the game and carrying a leader demeanor. He’s able to build good relationships and trust with his pitchers while understanding each in-game circumstance.
Moreno started with the DSL Blue Jays in 2017. 2018, he spent with the GLC/Blue Field Blue Jays, then graduated to the Lansing Lugnuts in 2019. In three seasons, he appeared in 585 at-bats, with 172 hits, driving in 105 runs on 16 belted dingers. He walked 35 times while striking out on 63 occasions. He averaged .294 with a .339 on base percentage.
Moreno stands 5’11” at 160 lbs. He’s athletic build and equally proportioned strength wise with a strong upper and lower half, with a strong average arm. He’s agile, loose and quick.
Moreno is built athletically as a shortstop and has transferred those strengths over as a catcher. He is quick on his feet, with working twitch reactions and “fidgety”, making for a coachable defensive catcher. His IQ is high, great interpersonal communications with his pitchers.
As a young rookie catcher and previous shortstop, Moreno is still developing his skills behind the dish. His arm strength would be his biggest weakness, which is workable and supplemented by a good POP time between 2.12-2.22. He has room to work on blocking and movement behind the plate.
The shortstop position is arguably one of the “captain” positions in baseball. The other captain position is behind the dish. These are two interchangeable skill sets which Morena can transition to. He carries leadership traits and communication between his team, making him a solid fit to be a catcher. He’s athletic with quick feet and agile. Morena can react to situations and understands scenarios. His arm maybe average, or just above at best, but getting the ball down on a throw is no issue for the 21-year-old. His bat is workable; makes solid contact, can hit gap to gap for contact and can put the ball in play. He has good pitch recognition, thanks to his positional visuals. He understands the pitch-poker game in counts, as most catchers should.
Moreno will develop and has the potential to be a starting catcher in the show; my expectation is 2022 for a call to the league. He is comparable to Yan Gomes and Jeff Mathis.
– Nick PRASAD (Independent Scout)