- Full name Max Anthony Moroff
- Born 05/13/1993 in Winter Park, FL
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Trinity Prep School
- Debut 07/31/2016
- Drafted in the 16th round (496th overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012 (signed for $300,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
Five years after the Pirates convinced Moroff to pass up a commitment to Central Florida for a $300,000 signing bonus, he got extensive major league work in 2017. Moroff never had more than eight home runs in a minor league season, but he hit 13 at Triple-A Indianapolis in 2017 in just 51 games, slugging a career-high .519. That earned him a spot in Pittsburgh as a utility infielder. He struggled with the bat for much of the season, but he drove in seven runs in the season's final two games. Moroff has good feel for the barrel and can create some leverage with the bat despite a lack of length. He's prone to high strikeout totals, but he also has high walk totals and can extend at-bats and make pitchers work. His defense at second base, third base and shortstop is about average. His arm can play at any of the three positions. His speed isn't what it was when he stole a combined 38 bases in 2014 and 2015, but he still has average speed. Moroff could start in Indianapolis again in 2018, but he will have a chance to make the Pirates' Opening Day roster as a utility infielder.
Moroff was committed to Central Florida until the Pirates enticed the 16th-round pick to reverse course and enter pro ball with a $300,000 bonus. He began his pro career as a shortstop before moving to second base and saw his first action at third base in 2016 at Triple-A Indianapolis. He is considered slightly above-average defensively at second base and average at third base and shortstop, where his fringe-average arm strength does not play as well. Moroff has moderate power but his offensive strength is getting on base. Because he works deep counts, he strikes out nearly at power-hitter rates, and he needs to use his above-average speed more effectively on the bases. If he does that, he could be an offensive weapon. The Pirates will continue shuffling him around the diamond, hoping he can become a valuable switch-hitter capable of playing three infield positions. Adam Frazier figures to be the Pirates' utility infielder in 2017, but Moroff will be at the ready at Triple-A Indianapolis if the need arises.
The Pirates have a history of going over slot to sign high school pitchers since Neal Huntington's first draft as general manager in 2008. In Moroff 's case, they did it for a high school hitter, signing him for $300,000 to give up a scholarship to Central Florida. Moroff developed slowly before having a breakout season in 2015 at Double-A Altoona, being named the second baseman on the Eastern League's postseason all-star team and leading the league with 79 runs, ranking second with 153 hits and third with 70 walks. The young switch-hitter also hit .293. Moroff added a hip wiggle while awaiting the pitch--he called it dancing with the pitcher--and said the timing mechanism helped get his swing started faster. For a hitter with moderate power, Moroff strikes out too much, but he has shown better selectivity as he has gained experience. The Pirates moved him from shortstop to second base in 2013 because of his ordinary range. He is becoming above-average at second, where he makes the double-play pivot well and has a plus arm. In fact, he led EL second basemen with 76 double plays, 330 assists and a .978 fielding percentage. Moroff is an average runner and makes too many outs on the bases. Added to the 40-man roster, he will begin 2016 at Triple-A Indianapolis and could make his major league debut in the second half.