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The Street Return: Elliot Morris

A look at the final prospect acquired in the Huston Street trade.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Elliot Morris, for lack of a better description, is R.J. Alvarez light. He was drafted in 2013, a year after Alvarez, and was pitching this year with Angels' California League team in Inland Empire just as Alvarez was at the same age. Morris was a 4th round pick, whereas Alvarez was a 3rd round pick. Alvarez has better strikeout rates than Morris. They both have had trouble walking people. Morris has been more prone to the long ball. Both are right handers that achieve most of their pitching success throwing to same-sided hitters. It is a bit of a lazy comparison, but since they are in the same trade together you end up comparing the two. One major difference though is that Morris has been used as a starter and Alvarez as a reliever.

ESPN's Keith Law even lumped them together a bit in his writeup on the trade ($):

Right-hander Elliot Morris had emerged as the Angels' top pitching prospect outside of rookie ball, reaching 92 to 96 mph with plus sink and an average or better low-80s slider, although it's a high effort delivery with some head violence and he doesn't have an effective pitch for left-handed hitters. He's a future reliever, alongside current reliever R.J. Alvarez.... Both guys could probably pitch in San Diego's pen next year.

Notice that Law things of Morris as a future reliever. That makes sense given that Morris has issues with left handed hitting. You face a lot more left handers as a starter than as a reliever. Perhaps if Morris did move to relief he could bump up that strikeout rate that lags behind Alvarez' and reduce the HR rate. My guess is that the Padres will stick with Morris as a starter in the near term.

John Sickels of also wrote about Morris after the trade:

Morris is a 6-4, 210 pound right-hander born April 26, 1992. He had Tommy John surgery in college but has fully recovered, showing a 92-96 MPH fastball with good sinking action. He has a decent slider but his changeup needs work and his overall command needs sharpening. At higher levels he projects as a number four starter if his secondary pitches improve, or a middle relief option if they don't.

Interesting to note that Morris, like Jesse Hahn, comes to the Padres after already undergoing Tommy John surgery. Unlike Hahn, his former team did not seem to limit Morris' innings and saw him, like Sickels does, as fully recovered. Sickels, unlike Law, also mentions Morris' prospects as a starter. He gives some slim hope that the 22 year old's secondary pitches could improve, which one could infer would mean that he would handle lefties better.

Now that we have gotten away from the similarities Morris has with Alvarez I will add on one more. Morris looks to be a bit further away from the majors for more reasons than just being a year younger than R.J. Because I expect the Padres to keep working with Morris on staying a starter, they will not rush him too quickly up the chain. He will finish the year with Lake Elsinore then get a full year with San Antonio and then will get a least one more season (either in AAA or split between AA and AAA) working to refine his offerings. So, where Alvarez could don a Padres uni in 2015 I would not expect a Morris siting at Petco Park before 2017.