Join Jays From the Couch as we highlight the 2019 season of Buffalo’s Sócrates Brito and Vancouver’s Tanner Morris.
The 2019 season did not have the outcome Socrates Brito or the Blue Jays were hoping for when he was acquired from the San Diego Padres for minor league outfielder Rodrigo Orozco on April 2nd. Brito, once a highly thought of outfield prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks, has struggled to translate his minor league success to major league success. The result, Brito was unable to establish himself as an everyday outfielder with the D-Backs and was designated for assignment at the end of Spring Training. The Padres plucked him off waivers and flipped him to the rebuilding Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays were hopeful Brito put it all together given a change of uniform and a chance to play every day. Instead, Brito set a franchise record for the most hitless at-bats to start a Blue Jays career. His inability to seize an outfield spot resulted in the Blue Jays outrighting him to the Buffalo Bisons.
Rather than tailspin in Triple-A, Brito impressed in a Bison uniform. He played with an assortment outfielder prospects. Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and Jonathan Davis each put up lesser stats but got a chance to ply their trade with the big club. Even the poorly used Anthony Alford received a September call-up. I am certain if Sócrates Brito had minor league options remaining he would have returned to the Blue Jays outfield.
Sócrates Brito batted .271 with a .821OPS, 4 doubles, a triple, and 2HR in May (12GP). He would bat .293, .311, and .241 over the following three months. Brito’s raw power turned into a .228ISO with 6 home runs in June and 4 in July and August for a total of 16 Triple-A homers.
Overall, Sócrates produced well above league average with a .351wOBA and 107wRC+ while posting a .333BABIP. He continues to struggle with plate discipline walking just 6.8% and striking out 22.7%. He did make strides throughout the season. After walking 5 times and striking out 34 times in 30 games in June, Brito walked 11 and struck out 22 times in July and 10/27 in August. Modest improvements but not enough to match his .383OBP he posted in 2018 in 114GP with the D-Back Triple-A affiliate. He would finish with a .328OBP.
Sócrates struggled to put the ball in the air in 2019. After registering a FB% of 39.6 and 37.5% in 2017 and 2018, Brito only registered a 31.5% and his GB% increase 45.8%. He finished with a 1.45 GB/FB.
Home: .260BA with 11 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 30RBI, and a .765OPS
Away: .303BA with 17 2B, 5 3B, 8HR, 37RBI, and .909OPS
Most Productive Game
June 21st, Sócrates Brito went 4-for-5 with three singles, a home run, a run scored, and five RBI. A total of 7 bases. This was the most RBI Sócrates drove in in 2019. He had a two HR, 9TB game on July 23rd, and an impressive 3-for-5, two double, one HR, and 8TB game on July 7th but nothing tops his 5 RBI game on July 23rd.
I don’t see much of a future for Sócrates Brito with the Blue Jays. In my opinion, the Blue Jays have several other outfield options similar to Brito. The skills are there which is why he will get a chance with another team next Spring Training and should find himself back in Triple-A.
FYI- Rodrigo Orozco made it to Triple-A in the Padres farm system. He batted .263 with a .339OBP and .328SLG while picking up 12 doubles, 2 home runs, and 15SB in 66 games at AA. In 26 games at Triple-A, Rodrigo batted .305 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 2 HR, and a .382OBP. He spent a month on the IL between June 8th and July 2nd.
2B/SS Tanner Morris
Drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 Draft. Tanner signed on June 11th. He was assigned to the Vancouver Canadians on June 13th, making his professional debut on June 14th (0-for-3 with a BB, and K).
Most scouting reports like his bat, stating he has a good feel for hitting and will need to hit to succeed. Not a power bat, rather, bat to ball skills with the ability to pick up lots of extra-base hits. Morris isn’t expected to stick at SS, with a move to 2B despite a strong arm.
His good plate discipline and power were rewarded with 20 starts in the leadoff spot and 21 starts in the 4th spot. He had more success in the 4th spot with a .321/.371/.436 triple slash line.
The native of Crozet, VA., struggled in June, batting .213 with 3 doubles but did show good discipline with 12BB and 10K in 13GP. He popped his first pro HR on July 6th, with his second coming days later on July 13th. Morris slashed .253/.382/.385 and .263/.391/.358 in July and August. His excellent 16.7BB% and .384OBP made it easy to pencil him in the leadoff (49GP) spot most nights with 14 games in the 2-hole. He finished with a 19.0K% and 0.88BB/K which I expect will improve with more reps.
Morris only hit 2HR but he collected 16 doubles and a triple for a .100ISO and a .246BA. His production was above the league average with a .358wOBA and 119wRC+. Tanner Morris puts the ball in play, hitting line drives 24% of the time and pounding the ball on the ground 47% of the time. He produced a lot of infield flyballs (32.1%) but not a lot of flyballs 29.0FB%. Morris used the entire field with a nice pull/push split of 39.7/38.6%
Tanner Morris split his time in the field between 2B (29GP) and SS (29GP). He committed 4 errors at SS and 3 errors at 2B.
Home: .233BA with 7 2B, 1 3B, 0HR, 16RBI, and .676OPS
Away: .258BA with 9 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 12RBI, and .778OPS
LHP: .156/.321/.267 (45AB)
Most Productive Game
On August 8th, the 6-foot-2 middle infielder went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, a run scored, a walk, a strike, 4RBI, and 5 total bases. He had two 3-hit games, one game with 3 runs scored, and two other games where he collected 5 total bases but none more productive than his 4 runs batted in performance.
Tanner Morris has an outside shot at skipping over Lansing and heading to Dunedin to begin the 2020 season. His ability to play the gaps will play very nicely in the FSL. Regardless of where Morris starts next season, we should expect him to continue to post high BB totals and a chance at becoming a doubles machine. His ISO should increase with more muscle and tutelage. Maybe not in 2020 but I expect to see Morris crack double-digit HR when he reaches AA.
Featured image credit: R.Mueller
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