Who is Cody Morris, who the Yankees acquired in the Estevan Florial trade?

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To bolster their pitching roster, the New York Yankees engaged in a trade with the Cleveland Guardians on December 26, 2023, securing right-hander Cody Morris. In exchange, outfielder Estevan Florial, who faced challenges in making a breakthrough from the minor leagues, was moved to the Guardians.

Although the 27-year-old Cody Morris encountered minor league challenges and had a somewhat challenging stint with the Guardians last season, posting a 6.75 ERA in eight innings, his overall performance history presents intriguing potential. Demonstrating consistent control and solid performance across 21 minor league appearances, he maintained a 3.23 ERA. Furthermore, his two-season MLB career showcases a respectable 3.41 ERA despite limited opportunities.

Cody Morris’ background as a once highly-touted prospect adds an extra layer of interest. While his recent Major League performance may not have been outstanding, glimpses of brilliance in the past and success in the minor leagues suggest he could be a hidden talent for the Yankees.

The upcoming spring training will serve as a proving ground for Cody Morris. Eager to secure a spot on the Opening Day roster, he will compete for a position in the bullpen or potentially as a fifth starter. Despite lingering uncertainties, the Yankees have acquired a player with promising potential and the opportunity to make a significant contribution.

Who is Cody Morris?

cody-morris-new-york-yankees
Joshua Gunter

Early Life and Education:

Cody Morris, born on November 4, 1996, in Columbia, Maryland, began developing his baseball skills at Reservoir High School in Fulton. Although the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the 32nd round of the 2015 MLB draft, he chose to pursue collegiate baseball at the University of South Carolina.

College Career:

Cody Morris’ journey encountered unexpected twists. A Tommy John surgery in June 2015 sidelined him, delaying his Gamecocks debut until March 2017. Nevertheless, his resilience became evident in his junior year. In 2018, he established himself as a formidable presence, achieving a notable 9-3 win-loss record and an impressive 3.46 ERA in 16 starts. With 87 strikeouts in 83+1⁄3 innings pitched, Cody Morris showcased his pitching prowess.

Draft and Professional Journey:

Despite initially rejecting the Orioles’ offer in 2015, Cody Morris’ outstanding junior season drew the attention of the Cleveland Guardians, leading to his selection in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB draft. Since then, he has navigated both the major and minor leagues, gaining valuable experience and continuously honing his skills.

Draft and MLB debut

Cody Morris embarked on his journey with the Cleveland Guardians after being chosen in the seventh round (223rd overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft. Acknowledging his potential, the team extended a full slot value signing bonus of $186,000, an offer he eagerly accepted.

Cody Morris swiftly progressed through the ranks, displaying his talent and earning recognition as one of the organization’s most promising young talents. In 2022, he secured the 17th spot among the Guardians’ top prospects, as per MLB Pipeline—an affirmation of his diligence and a harbinger of a bright future.

This ascent in the prospect rankings underscores Cody Morris’ commitment and proficiency. His selection in the seventh round, though not at the pinnacle, turned out to be a strategic move by the Guardians. His subsequent climb in the prospect rankings signifies the organization’s confidence in his ongoing development.

Scouting report

cody-morris-new-york-yankees
si.com

A Promising Prospect with Room to Grow:

Cody Morris, recognized as Maryland’s top high school prospect in 2015, has encountered various challenges on his path to the Major Leagues. Despite early setbacks like Tommy John surgery and the pandemic, he has exhibited moments of brilliance, capturing the attention of baseball enthusiasts.

MLB Pipeline’s Scouting Take:

MLB Pipeline outlines Cody Morris’ strengths and potential as follows:

Solid Arsenal: In good health, Cody Morris showcases a four-seam fastball reaching 97 mph with high spin rates and excellent carry. His tumbling changeup holds potential as a plus pitch, making it elusive for hitters. Additionally, he has developed a reliable upper-70s curveball and an emerging upper-80s cutter.

Improved Control: Addressing previous command issues stemming from his long arm action, Cody Morris has displayed improved delivery consistency and pitch control in recent seasons.

Mid-Rotation Starter Potential: Possessing three dependable pitches and a history of accuracy, Cody Morris has the potential to evolve into a solid mid-rotation starter. However, maintaining good health and sustaining quality performance throughout a full season present ongoing challenges.

Career highlights

Strong Pro Debut: In 2019, Cody Morris made a strong impression in his professional debut, securing a 7-4 record with a 4.35 ERA across two minor league levels.

Dominant 2021: Following a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Cody Morris returned in 2021 with remarkable performances, posting a 1.62 ERA and accumulating 93 strikeouts in just 61 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. This success earned him a coveted spot on the Guardians’ 40-man roster.

Major League Debut in 2022: Cody Morris achieved a significant milestone in 2022 by making his Major League debut in September, recording a commendable 1-2 record and 2.28 ERA in seven appearances.

The Yankees’ move for Cody Morris

Cody Morris, the new player of the yankees
CBS

The New York Yankees, renowned for their formidable offense, have shifted their focus to fortifying their uncertain pitching rotation. In a recent transaction with the Cleveland Guardians, they secured right-hander Cody Morris, aspiring to bring much-needed stability to their pitching staff.

While Cody Morris, aged 26, presents promise, the Yankees opted to part with a player who once held significant potential: outfielder Estevan Florial. At 26, Florial exhibited glimpses of his skills with a .230 batting average in 19 games for the Yankees in 2023. However, his struggle with 20 strikeouts in 71 plate appearances led to his designation for assignment. Surprisingly, Florial cleared waivers and returned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Florial’s career trajectory has featured both brilliance and inconsistencies. Once touted as the Yankees’ top prospect, he claimed the number-one spot in their internal rankings in 2019. However, concerns about his strikeout rate and command gradually led to his descent down the list, culminating in a 30th-place ranking in 2022.

Despite facing challenges in the majors, Florial’s minor league performance underscored his power and potential. In 2023, he launched 28 home runs and drove in 79 runs in Triple-A. Nevertheless, the Yankees prioritized pitching reinforcements, banking on Cody Morris to fulfill the promise he once showed as a highly-regarded prospect.

The outcome of the Cody Morris gamble remains uncertain. The Yankees have taken a calculated risk, trading away a once-prominent prospect for a potential pitching solution. Florial, on the other hand, seizes another opportunity to showcase his abilities in the Guardians organization, striving to recapture the form that elevated him to top prospect status and dispel lingering concerns about his strikeout struggles.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Standard Pitching

YearTmWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFERA+FIPWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/W
2022CLE120.3332.2875000023.221863120230011001684.341.39481.14.68.71.92
2023CLE006.7560100081066360900038648.13211.33.46.810.11.5
WLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFERA+FIPWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/W
2 Yrs120.3333.41135100031.23114126180320011381165.31.5478.81.75.19.11.78
162 Game Avg.480.3333.41491940001201175345236801210045211165.31.5478.81.75.19.11.78
Baseball Reference

Postseason Pitching

YearWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/WWPAcWPA
2022Did not pitch in series
2022000100000200000030006000013.50.060.80%
WLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9SO/WWPAcWPA
1 ALDS000100000200000030006000013.50.060.80%
Baseball Reference

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