TOMAS MORALES, CATCHER
|Born: July 30, 1991
Height: 6′ 0″
Signed: Int’l free agent, 2011
How Acquired: International Free Agent
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates signed Morales just a few days before his 20th birthday. He seems to have settled in quickly as an organizational catcher. He’s a good defensive catcher and seems to have a better bat than organizational catchers typically do, although it’s hard to tell given the small sample sizes.
Morales signed late in the VSL season and got into four games.
Morales shared catching duties with the Pirates’ two DSL affiliates. He made contact most of the time, but didn’t show any power. He threw out one-third of the runners who tried to steal on him.
Morales started the season in the DSL, but moved to the GCL when it started play, mainly to back up Daniel Arribas. Reese McGuire’s appearance after he signed cut sharply into Morales’ playing time. He threw out three of nine base stealers.
Morales split the catching duties at Bristol with Daniel Arribas and Chris Harvey. He played about the same amount behind the plate as Arribas, which was a little surprising because Arribas appeared to be at least a marginal prospect. Morales was actually one of the better hitters on a terrible team, although his walk rate was extremely low. He threw out 24% of base stealers, which was the best of the three catchers.
Morales returned to Bristol and again shared playing time with two other catchers, in this case John Bormann and Erik Lunde. He continued to improve at the plate, making better contact and walking more. He threw out 28% of base stealers, again the best of the team’s catchers, although opponents also attempted to steal more often on Morales than the others.
Despite not having played above advanced rookie ball, Morales found himself filling in with the top three teams in the system. He started the season as the backup catcher at Bradenton, filled in briefly at Indianpolis a couple times, and then spent most of August at Altoona, after Reese McGuire was traded. He hit respectably in his limited chances. In fact, he hit his first pro HR as a pinch hitter for the Curve, then the next day hit another pinch-hit HR. Morales threw out 28% of base stealers combined.
With Jin-De Jhang hurt, Morales started off the season sharing the catching duties at Altoona, at various times with Zane Chavez and Jackson Williams. Eventually, Williams ended up mostly in AAA and Chavez was released, and Morales settled in as the backup to Jhang. He also pitched in two extra-inning games near the end of the season, getting one win and one loss, and he filled in briefly at Indianapolis. Morales didn’t do well at throwing out base stealers, catching only three of 24 while in AA.
Morales will be a free agent in the fall. It wouldn’t be too surprising if the Pirates sought to bring him back.
|2017: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2017
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: N/A
|July 21, 2011: Signed as an international free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.|