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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Adam Morrissey

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 6/8/81, Age: 22, Height: 5’11’’, Weight: 180, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Athletics - Traded for Mark Bellhorn on 11/2/01; Signed by the Cubs as a free agent out of Australia on 2/18/99. 2002 Stats: (AA - Midland) .235 AVG, 302 AB, 15 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 SB, 38 BB, 71 K, .323 OBP, .311 SLG; (High-A - Modesto) .291 AVG, 141 AB, 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 4 SB, 20 BB, 28 K, .383 OBP, .418 SLG. 2003 Stats: (AA - Midland) .267 AVG, 195 AB, 13 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 SB, 24 BB, 48 K, .341 OBP, .359 SLG.
    Adam Morrissey is a multi-positional youngster that was picked up from the Cubs when Oakland shipped Mark Bellhorn out after the 2001 season. At the time, conventional wisdom was that the A’s had swindled once again, getting a clone of Bellhorn minus six years or so. Bellhorn’s explosion last year had folks leaning in the other direction, but after Morrissey’s AFL campaign and Bellhorn’s collapse this year, the pendulum is swinging back again. Morrissey controls the strike zone fairly well, which is likely the most interesting part of his game. For his age, he is a very disciplined hitter, averaging a walk every nine plate appearances in both of his Midland stints, and a walk every eight plate appearances at Modesto last year. He has also shown glimpses of power, clubbing 26 doubles, 11 triples, and 14 homers as a 20 year old in 2001, and then again this year with 13 doubles in just under 200 at bats in AA. Unlike the doubles and walks, the singles, triples, and homers have disappeared at the AA level. At low-A in 2001, Morrissey hit 4.3 singles per AB, and at high-A in 2002 he hit 4.7. That rate moved to 6.0 last year at AA before his demotion, and it stands at 5.3 this season. By contrast, he is hitting a double every 15 AB this year at Midland, as opposed to between every 16 and 20 AB at his previous three stops. Most of the drop in hits can be attributed to an increase in strikeouts, as he has moved from fanning once every five at-bats in A-ball to once every four at AA. Morrissey may be one of those hitters that can’t handle the jump from A to AA, which is the largest step in the minors, but the doubles and walks would tell you otherwise. Bellhorn, for example, had the same tag at the major league level, but disproved that last year. 445 AB is not a fluke in Bellhorn’s case, but the Cubs are treating it as such. I give the A’s more credit than that, so I would expect Morrissey to have a longer leash, especially if the doubles and walks remain at a consistent level. On the bases, Morrissey is an above average runner with the capability to steal 10-15 bases annually (in a different organization), but 5-10 would be more likely if he makes the A’s under the current regime. Morrissey’s largest probable impact to a big league franchise will be his versatility in the field, where he is capable of playing between four and six positions at varying capacities below the average. Second base might be his best position, where he is capable of playing as well as Mark Ellis on defense. He has also played third, short, and left, and I imagine he is capable of filling in at right or first if need be. All in all, a handy guy to have around, but likely not much more than a utility player.
    Morrissey has been playing a lot of third this year because of the presence of Freddie Bynum at second, a situation that will not help his chances of playing time in Oakland. Bobby Crosby and Esteban German, two useful players, comprise the middle infield in Sacramento (AAA), and they won’t be two people that will be easy to jump past. All told, Morrissey has a lot of competition for a spot in Oakland for the immediate future, and I am not sold on his chances versus that group. The A’s just keep stocking their system with useful (read: better than replacement level) players that can take spots vacated by their most replaceable players with escalating salaries. Guys like Eric Byrnes, Ellis, German, Crosby, Jason Grabowski, Graham Koonce, Adam Piatt, and Morrissey are all available to fill a hole somewhere, whether it is with the A’s or elsewhere. That is one of the many reasons why the A’s have been able to shrug off the departures of some very solid bats over the last few years, and why they may be able to withstand the loss of Tejada (or others) in the future. Bellhorn may be a somewhat comparable player to Morrissey, but I think he is a little more talented overall. A better comparison to Morrissey would be a player like Geoff Blum, in so far as he is a player with some appreciable talent that would likely be best suited as a bench player, but certainly a useful one. Morrissey will probably spend the rest of this year bouncing around the field at Midland, and is realistically only about fourth or fifth in line for a regular job in Oakland right now, but might be first in line if they wanted a multi-positional player. Odds are, Morrissey will be a player that is slow to break into the big leagues, probably earning a regular roster spot closer to age 26 or 27 than age 24. He may very well have a decent major league career, but it is doubtful that he will ever earn much more than a utility role with a big league team.


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