New York Mets spring non-roster invitee Max Moroff has some MLB experience which could lead to some playing time in 2020. What’s his path to the 26-man roster?
During spring training action, it’s not uncommon to spot a guy you may have never heard of on the baseball field. In some instances, there’s a New York Mets player whose name rings a bell, but you don’t really know much about the guy.
One such player is Max Moroff. Alliterative names have a way of sticking with us. So, if you’ve followed baseball for the last few years, you may have come across him before.
Moroff has 104 games of big league experience and only 244 plate appearances across them. This tells us a few things about how he has been used. For the most part, he has been a replacement player. He has started only 44 games in the field since making his debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017.
In short, he’s a late-inning option to come in and play the infield when the rest of the bench has been used for pinch-hitters or the manager is looking for an upgrade.
The addition of the 26th man in 2020 certainly helps guys in Moroff’s situation. The extra roster spot allows flexibility for one-tool players to find their way onto a major league roster.
Unfortunately for Moroff, he’s second in line to Luis Guillorme to assume this position.
Without actually seeing Moroff play, it’s tough to know how he compares defensively to Guillorme. Already with second base, third base, and shortstop on his MLB resume, we at least know he’s capable of moving around as needed.
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There’s a big difference between Moroff and Guillorme. While Moroff is still quite young with his 27th birthday on the way in May, he hasn’t been much of a hitter.
In limited big league chances, Moroff has slashed .183/.277/.319. It’s not a great indicator of the kind of talent he possesses. What can give us a better idea is how he performed in the minor leagues.
From 2013-2016, Moroff had just one season hitting above .250. I selected these three seasons because they are the only ones where he played in 100+ games. He has bounced back and forth from MLB to Triple-A a few times in the years since, limiting his plate appearances at any single level.
However, even when he did see minor league action over the last two years, he didn’t perform at a high level.
Moroff hit .238/.381/.400 last year as a minor leaguer in 160 trips to the plate. The balance between batting average and OBP is quite stark, at least showing he’s able to find ways to get on base.
Sadly, Moroff has a negative quality with his approach at the plate. He has typically found himself striking out nearly on average once per game. Without a batting average or significant power to match, it’s tough to envision him having an important role for the Mets in 2020.
Speaking of the 2020 Mets, how exactly can he see playing time this year?
Well, we know he’s behind Guillorme on the depth chart. But if there is at any point an injury to one of the infielders, Moroff could end up as the guy to replace him on the roster.
Think of Moroff as this year’s Adeiny Hechavarria without the same level of experience. Hechararria saw his share of action with the Mets in 2019. Moroff should see some as well with injuries in baseball seemingly lurking around every corner.
Playing time might be scarce for Moroff in this situation. I suspect Guillorme would start regularly at any of the infield positions should the Mets need to hit that emergency button.
Although I think we’ve all realized Guillorme isn’t a future everyday player, he has shown some positive signs of growth which could make him one of those fringe guys. An injury to one of the regulars should give him the chance to prove to everyone what he can do.
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As for Moroff, he’ll spend time with the Syracuse Mets hoping to rebuild some stock and prepare himself for the first Robinson Cano pulled groin of the year.