|Born: February 20, 1983
Drafted: 3rd Round, 77th Overall, 2001 (Twins)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: La Providencia (Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico)
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Morales was a shortstop when the Twins drafted him, but they converted him to catcher in 2003. He made his way through their farm system slowly, but eventually played with them in parts of three seasons, mainly when Joe Mauer was hurt. Since he got to AAA, he’s generally hit for good averages and shown a good eye at the plate, but he doesn’t have much power. He’s thrown out 30% of opposing base stealers in the minors and 34% (16 of 47) in the majors, but is not considered strong defensively. He’s appeared fairly often as a pinch hitter in the majors, probably in part due to the fact that he’s a switch-hitter. He’s had some injury problems that have limited his opportunities. The Pirates signed him to a minor league contract for 2012 and invited him to spring training.
Morales didn’t hit much in his rookie league debut. He played mostly second, with some time at short and third.
Morales again played mainly second in the GCL and hit for average, with limited power and still not much patience.
The Twins moved Morales behind the plate and sent him to full season ball, although he ultimately got into only 60 games between the two levels. He hit for a decent average and continued showing little power or patience.
Back at high A, Morales started drawing more walks, but also struck out more than previously. He played behind the plate exclusively.
Morales missed most of the season with an injury.
Morales returned to AA and struggled badly at the plate. He did throw out 39% of base stealers.
Morales moved up to AAA and had his best season to date, hitting over .300 and dramatically improving his walk and K rates. He even threw out 36%. The Twins called him up in September and he played one game, going 3-for-3, but sprained his ankle and missed the rest of the year.
Morales went back to AAA and was hitting over .300 again, with slightly improved power but much less patience, when he sprained his ankle again in mid-June. He missed the rest of the season.
With Mauer hurt, Morales opened the season sharing the Twins’ catching duties with Mike Redmond. He was up and down a number of times after Mauer came back. He hit very well at both levels and his plate discipline made another sudden about-face.
Morales opened the season on the disabled list due to off-season wrist surgery. Possibly due to the after-effects of the surgery, he didn’t hit as well as he had the last few years. He saw only limited time in the majors. The Twins sent him to Colorado in the off-season.
Morales opened the season as the Rockies’ backup catcher. In mid-June, however, he broke his thumb. The injury kept him out the rest of the year.
Morales figured to compete with Mike McKenry for the backup catcher job in spring training, but he was hurt when spring training started. He joined Indianapolis in late April and played either regularly or semi-regularly, depending on what other catcher was with the Indians. Tony Sanchez’ promotion to AAA obviously cut a great deal into his playing time. The injuries continued to come at inopportune times. When Rod Barajas was hurt in July, Morales was also hurt and the Pirates called up Eric Fryer. When the Pirates wanted a third catcher for September, Morales was hurt again and they called up Fryer again. Morales also missed the AAA playoffs. When he was able to play, he showed his usual good plate discipline, although he didn’t hit for any power. He threw out only 16% of potential base stealers.
Morales will be a free agent in the off-season. With Sanchez and Ramon Cabrera both possibly at Indianapolis, there wouldn’t be much room for Morales, so he may choose to go elsewhere.
2012: Split Contract — Minor League Contract, or $650,000 if in majors
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2001
MLB Debut: 9/8/2007
MiLB FA Eligible: 2012
MLB FA Eligible: 2016
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: September 6, 2007
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2008, 2009, 2010)
MLB Service Time: 2.052
|June 5, 2001: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 3rd round, 77th overall pick; signed on June 30.
September 6, 2007: Contract purchased by the New York Mets.
December 16, 2010: Traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Colorado Rockies for Paul Bargas.
October 5, 2011: Outrighted to AAA by the Colorado Rockies
November 2, 2011: Became a free agent.
December 6, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.