The Houston Astros signed left-handed reliever Adam Morgan to a minor-league deal Monday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle and Brian McTaggart of MLB.com report. Morgan, 32, is an alumnus of the University of Alabama, where he was originally a starter.
The former third-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies, where he pitched with Hector Neris, is no longer arbitration eligible following this season. With another spring signing to a minor-league deal, Morgan enters competition to be a second lefty option out of the bullpen with former Chicago Cub Zac Rosscup.
Rosscup, who signed with the Astros last week, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays, when general manager James Click was in the team’s front office. Rosscup and Morgan have a full 40-man roster in front of them, battling to be another left-handed option behind Blake Taylor.
What does Adam Morgan possibly bring to the Astros out of the bullpen?
In his seventh season, Morgan posted a 4.26 ERA with the Cubs in 2021. Over 25.1 innings, the lefty hurled a 9.9 strikeout per nine innings with the second lowest strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career — 2.33.
Morgan is a lefty specialist, a dying trait in relievers with inning restrictions. While granting a 1.369 OPS to righties in 2021, Morgan carved up left-handers, leaving them with a .469 OPS and only four extra-base hits in 64 plate appearances. Rosscup and Taylor are on a similar end, favoring the lefty-lefty matchup.
According to Baseball Savant, Morgan had only enough innings to be grouped in three categories — fastball velocity, fastball spin and curve spin. Although his velocity is below the average, Morgan is in the 63rd percentile for fastball spin and the 95th percentile for curve spin.
With five pitches behind, Morgan heavily uses his slider and sinker, taking up roughly 67.9% of his pitch usage. Alongside Rosscup, the Astros have two veteran lefties to evaluate this spring as possible 40-man additions.
For the next spring training starts, the Astros scheduled Jake Odorizzi for Tuesday, Justin Verlander for Wednesday and Jose Urquidy for Wednesday. Kyle Tucker, Jason Castro, Chas McCormick, Korey Lee and Taylor Jones will travel to Port St. Lucie for Tuesday’s game, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Lefty reliever Oliver Perez signed a minor-league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, following an announcement earlier this year that he was going to retire after the 2022 Mexican League season.