Prospect of the Week: Hunter Morris | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Hunter Morris, 1B, AA Huntsville

After something of a slow start to the season, Morris has really come on of late. Over his past 10 games, he’s hit .294/.351/.706. Of his 10 hits in that time, 4 were home runs and 2 were doubles. For the season, Morris is now hitting a solid .292/.351/.500 with 29 of his 66 hits going for extra bases.

Born in the city in which he now plays, Morris attended Auburn and was drafted by the Brewers in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. Power has always been his primary calling card, and he’s hit 36 home runs in 1,110 plate appearances thus far in his minor league career. Often times, that sort of power production would move a player up towards the top of a team’s prospect list, but Morris has been held back in the past by very low on-base numbers.

Given that he’s limited to first base defensively, and doesn’t stand out particularly there, his bat is going to have to carry him as far as he will go in pro ball. That means hitting for tons and tons of power, learning to take more walks and finding ways to keep the batting average high enough to support a solid on-base percentage. Since he won’t turn 24 until after this season, there is time for development left and his start in AA is a positive move in the direction he needs to go to one day play in MLB. His ceiling is probably something like a poor man’s Mark Trumbo, which has value, especially in his cost-controlled years, but he’ll have to continue to refine his approach to reach that ceiling.

Three Up

Caleb Gindl, OF, AAA Nashville

2012 has been a rough year so far for Gindl, who may well have missed out on a chance at big league playing time when he got off to a terribly slow start in April. He’s picked it up in recent weeks, hitting .333/.344/.533 over his last 10 games. His seasonal numbers are still low, and he seems to have given back a lot of progress he made over the past few years in the K:BB department, but at least things do seem to be turning around a bit. If he can build on this progress, he’ll see the majors at some point this year for the first time, even if it’s just a September call up.

Michael Reed, OF, High A Brevard County

When the Brewers took the Texas prep center fielder in the 5th round in 2011, they knew they were going to have to pay to buy him out of his scholarship to Ole Miss, which is exactly what they did. After starting 2012 in extended spring training, Reed was recently called up and asked to fill in for a few games at AA, quite the vote of confidence for a 19 year-old with no previous experience in full season baseball. Once that need passed, he was sent down to Advanced A Brevard County, where he’s hit .357/.471/.357 in his first 5 games. The sample is too small to draw any firm conclusions, other than to say that Reed is definitely a prospect to watch going forward.

Logan Schafer, OF, AAA Nashville

Many speculated Schafer had earned a big league roster spot with good play in spring training in the event that Corey Hart was not fully recovered from his knee injury. Of course, Hart didn’t have to open the season on the disabled list, and Schafer was sent to AAA to start the year. He didn’t have the hottest of starts, though it was nothing as bad as what his teammate Gindl went through. He has really come on of late, hitting .394/.417/.545 over his past 10 games. Unfortunately for him, though, the Brewers already have 3 players at the major league level blocking him from playing time in center, so unless the injury bug really continues to bite, it’s hard to see him getting more than a September call up this year.

Three Down

Jed Bradley, LHP, High A Brevard County

After a torrid start to the season for the number 15 overall pick in last year’s draft, lefty Jed Bradley has struggled mightily for most of the season. He’s allowed 4+ earned runs in 5 of his last 8 starts, and there have been reports (most notably by ESPN.com’s Keith Law and our own J.P. Breen) that his velocity is down from where it was at this time last year. It’s hard not to be at least a little concerned at hearing news like that. On the positive side, prospects rarely rocket through the minor leagues without hiccups, and the fact that Bradley is facing some issues now doesn’t necessarily mean anything in the long run. It does appear, though, that he won’t be joining some of his rotation mates in a mid-year promotion to AA in the next few weeks.

Cody Hawn, 1B, High A Brevard County

Drafted by the Brewers in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Tennessee, Hawn was given a slower development path to follow than Morris, and his results haven’t been as good. In his past 10 games, he’s hit a mere .200/.243/.257, and his season line is a disappointing .228/.288/.375. With Morris in front of him and 2011 4th rounder Nick Ramirez right behind him, Hawn may need to start hitting or risk being pushed out of regular playing time sometime in the not too distant future.

Evan Anundsen, RHP, AA Huntsville

It seems like a long time ago now, but in April of 2009, Anundsen he threw a no-hitter for the Brevard County Manatees. After being drafted out of Columbine High School in the 4th round of the 2007 draft, it was looking more than ever like Anundsen was on track for a major league career. Then he missed all but 3 innings of 2010 with a shoulder injury and his stuff has never been the same since. His run prevention numbers have been solid this year, but his peripheral numbers tell a different tale and last week the former caught up with the latter a bit when he allowed 7 runs in 3 innings of work. Just another reminder of how hard it is to draft and develop pitching talent all the way to the major leagues without the player getting hurt.

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