Colin Moran is a third baseman knocking on the door for a big league job. He seems to be flying under the radar, but he will likely make his debut this year and have more of an impact than many expect, if not this year, then certainly by next year. This is the sort of prospect who can sneak up on you and then, oops, end up having a solid 12 year career. Remember Joe Randa? No one’s idea of Mr. Excitement, but Randa had a pretty decent career and would have been a quality fantasy 3B most years of his career. This could very well be Moran’s future.
Colin Moran was drafted in the first round (6th overall) back in 2013 by the Miami (then Florida) Marlins. At the time, he was considered one of the best pure hitters in the draft and in his first year in low-A at age 20, he didn’t disappoint, hitting .299 with solid plate discipline and doubles aplenty. After that year, Moran appeared consistently on all top-100 prospect lists preceding the 2014 season.
In 2014, Moran began the year at high single-A Jupiter in the Florida State League, again hitting for good average but only middling power. Traded to Houston midseason, Moran was promoted to double-A Corpus Christi where he proceeded to… do pretty much what he always does: hit about .300 with enough doubles to keep his slugging percentage in the mid .400s. The profile wasn’t enough to excite the prospect analysts however, so Moran fell off nearly every top-100 list, even though, again, he didn’t really have a bad year. The biggest concern at this point was that Moran might have to move off 3B, and this sort of hitter at 1B is not much of a prospect.
In 2015, Moran spent the entire year at double-A, having your typical Colin Moran season with the bat. In the field, well, he still remains a third baseman. He will turn 23 years old this season and play his first year at triple-A. Assuming Moran continues his Moran-like hitting, he will eventually get a chance to play for the big club at some point.
If… and it’s still an open question… *if* Moran can remain a 3B who isn’t a complete disaster in the field, his Joe Randa-like hitting will get him a major league starting 3B job. And at age 23, while there is unlikely much physical growth left in him, there still may be some power yet to be unleashed. Even if there isn’t, then natural growth as a hitter will still likely produce more power in the future for Moran. Joe Randa managed to hit 17 homers one year in the majors after all.
Moran’s fielding percentages and range factors in the minors certainly don’t portend a Brooks Robinson defensive profile or anything, but they are not terrible by any means. There is a decent chance he will stay at 3B. If so, then because of his solid hit tool, Moran will be a more valuable prospect than many of the 3B prospects ranked above him currently.