- Full name Colin Richard Moran
- Born 10/01/1992 in Port Chester, NY
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School North Carolina
- Debut 05/18/2016
Drafted in the 1st round (6th overall) by the Miami Marlins in 2013 (signed for $3,516,500).
View Draft ReportA few teams liked Moran as a high schooler out of Rye, N.Y., but his strong commitment and ties to North Carolina, as well as rough defense at third base, prompted him to go undrafted in 2010. The nephew of 1985 No. 1 overall pick B.J. Surhoff and younger brother of Mariners farmhand Brian Moran, he stepped into the middle of the Tar Heels' lineup in 2011 and was BA's Freshman of the Year. He missed part of his sophomore season with a broken hand after punching a wall but was healthy and productive in the Cape Cod League last summer. He's had his best season as a junior, entering May atop the Division I leaderboards in runs and RBIs. Moran combines outstanding control of the strike zone with size, strength and power. He covers the plate, lays off pitcher's pitches, has excellent hand-eye coordination and drives the ball to all parts of the ballpark. Scouts consider his hitting ability more advanced than his power, and he projects to have profile plus power for third base. He has improved greatly with the glove. His good hands play both in the field and at the plate, and he combines plus arm strength with accuracy. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder's biggest weakness is his below-average speed, but most scouts still consider him athletic enough to stay at third. Most also expect him to come off the board in the first 10 picks.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Moran made it to the majors, but he and the team realized his lack of power may keep him from sticking around. He completely retooled his swing in 2017, focusing on hitting the ball in the air more. From 2016 to 2017 he halved his ground ball rate, doubled his fly ball rate and nearly doubled his number of home runs. Moran is as much a success story of the fly ball revolution as more celebrated big league examples like Justin Turner. Moran is more upright at the plate now with the bat laid on his shoulder at the start of his swing. He finishes his swing with more of an uppercut. He's long had the ability to make solid contact, but too often he drove the ball into the ground, where his below-average speed meant it was a single at best. Now he has a chance to be a 20-plus home run threat and he did so without doing anything to diminish his above-average hitting ability. Moran has to hit, as he's fringe-average at third base at best although his plus arm is an asset. His lack of range is less noticeable at first base. Moran would have likely stuck around Houston in 2017 if not for a freak injury. He was hit in the face by his own foul ball and suffered facial fractures. He should be fully recovered for spring training. He may have to head back to Fresno because of the Astros' crowded roster, but he should contribute to the big league club at some point in 2018.
Moran was one of the most productive college hitters in the 2013 draft coming out of North Carolina, but the Marlins soured on their first-round pick after only a year. Miami traded him to the Astros after they decided his low-energy approach and below-average power didn't fit their plans at third base. Houston focused on what Moran could do: hit for average, make plenty of contact and throw. He has made defensive improvements at third base, where he now grades as fringe-average with a plus arm, but that won't matter if he is as punchless as he was at Triple-A Fresno in 2016. He hit .259 with 10 home runs and a below-average .697 OPS for the Pacific Coast League, and his strikeout rate jumped without a corresponding bump in his power. At his best, Moran has shown himself to be an above-average hitter with the power to hit 10-12 home runs. He still is young enough to bounce back, but the Astros' days of playing a second-division caliber player at third base are over, so Moran will head back to Triple-A.
Moran has a long history of success. He was Baseball America's Freshman of the Year in 2011 and was a key member of North Carolina's 2011 and 2013 College World Series teams. The sixth pick in the 2013 draft, Moran's lack of productive power and low-energy approach quickly turned off the Marlins, who traded him the next season in a deal that sent Jarred Cosart to Miami and netted Francis Martes as well for the Astros. Moran missed a month this year with a broken jaw thanks to an errant throw, but he showed no ill effects upon his return. Moran can really hit. He starts from a very open stance but squares up with his timing step. He will occasionally connect on a long home run, but his approach is geared to stay back, avoid getting fooled and use the whole field with a small load to his swing. He draws walks as well. But what makes Moran such a divisive prospect for scouts is what he can't do. He's a near bottom-of-the-scale runner and a below-average defender at third base because of a lack of first-step quickness and limited athleticism. His plus arm is very accurate, which is key because without the arm, he'd already be playing first base. If Moran stays at third base, his potential to hit .290 with above-average on-base percentages, and the 25-30 doubles may make the 10-15 home runs he'll hit seem adequate. But if a team is unwilling to live with below-average defense at third, he becomes a much less interesting first baseman. He's ready for Triple-A and isn't far away.
The sixth overall pick by the Marlins in the 2013 draft, Moran had an excellent career at North Carolina, where he was the BA Freshman of the Year in 2011 and a Golden Spikes finalist as a junior. Moran came to Houston (along with Jake Marisnick) as part of trade package for righthander Jarred Cosart. It's clear the Astros have long been fans of Moran, whose professional, even-keel demeanor often strikes scouts as low-energy, especially when he turns in bottom-of-the-scale run times. Houston believes in his profile, starting with average defense at third base with below-average range but good hands and a strong, accurate arm. The organization believes he has plus raw power, especially after seeing him blast a 425-foot homer off Royals first-rounder Brandon Finnegan. However, Moran's swing is geared to hit for average, manipulating the bat to produce liners to the gaps. He knows the strike zone, so he projects as at least an average hitter with modest on-base ability. Moran has earned comparisons with Bill Mueller and Dave Magadan as a third baseman lacking profile power. He likely will begin the 2015 season at Corpus Christi, but with big league incumbent Matt Dominguez coming off a .215 season, he could hit his way to Houston.
Moran followed his uncle B.J. Surhoff and brother Brian to North Carolina, where he was honored as BA's Freshman of the Year in 2011. He was a Golden Spikes finalist last spring after leading the nation with 91 RBIs, a school record. After the Marlins selected him sixth overall and gave him a slot bonus of $3,516,500, the second-largest in franchise history, he homered in his first pro at-bat. Scouts believe Moran will hit, but his power will determine how much impact he has in the big leagues. A pure hitter with an advanced approach at the plate, Moran controls the strike zone, has excellent hand-eye coordination and rarely chases. Though he has pull power, when he's going well he'll take what the pitcher gives him and drive it hard into the gap. He projects as a run-producing .300 hitter with the size and strong hands to put up 20 homers a year. Though not quick, he's athletic enough to stay at third, where his hands are soft and he shows average lateral range and an above-average, accurate arm. He's a below-average runner but can rev it up when digging for an extra base. The Marlins will allow Moran to set his own pace, which could be accelerated because he entered the system already polished and fits a big league need. He should claim Miami's wide-open third base job no later than 2015.
A few teams liked Moran as a high schooler out of Rye, N.Y., but his strong commitment and ties to North Carolina, as well as rough defense at third base, prompted him to go undrafted in 2010. The nephew of 1985 No. 1 overall pick B.J. Surhoff and younger brother of Mariners farmhand Brian Moran, he stepped into the middle of the Tar Heels' lineup in 2011 and was BA's Freshman of the Year. He missed part of his sophomore season with a broken hand after punching a wall but was healthy and productive in the Cape Cod League last summer. He's had his best season as a junior, entering May atop the Division I leaderboards in runs and RBIs. Moran combines outstanding control of the strike zone with size, strength and power. He covers the plate, lays off pitcher's pitches, has excellent hand-eye coordination and drives the ball to all parts of the ballpark. Scouts consider his hitting ability more advanced than his power, and he projects to have profile plus power for third base. He has improved greatly with the glove. His good hands play both in the field and at the plate, and he combines plus arm strength with accuracy. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder's biggest weakness is his below-average speed, but most scouts still consider him athletic enough to stay at third. Most also expect him to come off the board in the first 10 picks.
Minor League Top Prospects
The Marlins selected Moran sixth overall in the 2013 draft but traded him to the Astros a year later in the five-player deal that sent Jarred Cosart to Miami and Jake Marisnick to Houston. Moran doesn't hit for consistent power and thus doesn't fit the profile for a corner infielder, which is why he vexes scouts. He flashes above-average raw power, but doesn't consistently get to it in games with a handsy lefthanded swing. He's a hit-over-power third baseman for the most part, though he began unlocking more juice in the second half, when he hit all nine of his home runs and slugged .517 in his final 60 games. He began rotating his hips more effectively to get his hands out more quickly and his weigh transferred. Moran's athleticism is modest, meaning he makes the plays he gets to at third base, but his first-step agility is lacking. He has plenty of arm to stay at third, but his ultimate position might be first base, where his production would be below league average.
The sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Moran left the FSL at the end of July after being traded to the Astros in the Jarrod Cosart deal. He has an unusual profile as a hit-first, power-second corner infielder with modest athleticism. He has excellent hands and a feel for making contact and projects to hit for average. His above-average, accurate arm helps him make nearly all the plays on balls he gets to at third. He flashes above-average raw power when he pulls the ball, though the lefthanded hitter's approach is more geared to the gaps, especially left-center field. However, scouts have their questions about Moran's low-energy approach and lack of power production for his size. He's a well below-average runner, at times pushing five seconds on times to first base, and not all scouts are sold on his ability to stay at third due to fair agility and iffy first-step quickness. "He doesn't pull the ball right now, and I'm not sure why he didn't pull the ball much," said a pro scout with an American League club. "He wasn't flashy, and he's not a big athlete, but he has definite ability and feel to hit, with a very handsy swing."
The sixth overall pick in June, Moran arrived in Greensboro on July 17 and quickly looked liked a polished veteran instead of a player in his first pro season. Scouts and managers see Moran as one of the safest prospects in the league. Few doubt that he?ll play in the big leagues, likely for years, thanks to his advanced hitting approach. But those same observers do worry about how much impact he?ll have. Despite his size and strength, Moran?s approach at the plate leads to a lot more line drives the other way with few signs of the pull power he possesses. In the field, his lack of foot speed will limit his ability to be anything more than average at third base, but he makes all the plays on balls he reaches. His above-average arm improves his chances of sticking at third. He?s a grinder in the mold of his uncle, ex-big leaguer B.J. Surhoff.