2016 Phillies Report Card: Adam Morgan

Once upon a time, Adam Morgan was a touted pitching prospect, a third round pick in the 2011 draft and a standout performer in the Phillies farm system. In May of 2013, the young lefty was on a sharp upward trajectory, carving up hitters at the AA and AAA levels when a torn rotator cuff sidelined him for the next two seasons.

So when Morgan stepped onto the big league mound midway through 2015 and pitched to a 4.48 ERA/1.245 WHIP across 84.1 innings, it was seen as an encouraging step forward. The performance was good for a 5-7 record. Approaching the 2016 season, Morgan was never likely to make the starting rotation but he was at least poised to build on his promising work as a rookie spot starter.

But that’s not how it went.

2016 was pretty much a disaster for Adam Morgan. Across 21 starts and 113.1 innings, Morgan sputtered to a 6.04 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP. He was 2-11, and before you go blaming the Phillies for that record, they owned a winning percentage of .438 while Morgan’s topped out at .154.

If there is a positive takeaway from Morgan’s performance, it is merely this: two years removed from shoulder surgery, Morgan was a healthy arm at pretty much every point the Phillies needed him to be. He was able-bodied, available and was physically capable of delivering a baseball to a catcher’s mitt in those rare instances when it cleared a bat…though really only for five innings at a time. Anything beyond that, forget about it.

The bottom line? Adam Morgan is a healthy man with sleepy velocity and a bad habit of elevating balls into that sweet spot where home run hitters make their living.

As it happens, 2016 also saw Morgan pitching to a 3.04 ERA and a 6-1 record at the AAA level for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. That may tell you a bit about where Morgan probably belongs. He’s a guy the Phillies can tap for a start in an injury-related jam but he’s never going to steal anybody’s job.

Well, anyway, the Phillies posted their 40-man roster for the 2017 season in November and Morgan made the cut. Manager Pete Mackanin and pitching coach Bob McClure have said that they like Morgan, that his attitude and acumen are a good fit for the Phillies. But his body of work in 2016 does not inspire confidence.

The “plus” at the end of his grade is basically for managing to not get hurt.

Grade: F+

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