- Full name Mitchell Austin Moreland
- Born 09/06/1985 in Amory, MS
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 245 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Mississippi State
- Debut 07/29/2010
Drafted in the 17th round (530th overall) by the Texas Rangers in 2007.
View Draft ReportMoreland might be drafted as a first baseman, where plus raw power is his best asset. Because he's limited defensively and has an uppercut swing that's full of holes, he has received more interest as a pitcher. His ceiling on the mound is also modest, but he has an aggressive approach and comes right after hitters with an 86-90 mph fastball and a curveball that has good spin.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Moreland was a gritty two-way star for Mississippi State, hitting 10 homers and making 16 relief appearances for the Bulldogs' 2007 College World Series team. His plus lefthanded power helped him win the Cape Cod League home run derby in 2006 and finish as the runner-up in 2007, when the Rangers signed him late in the summer for $60,000. Thanks to his low-90s fastball and feel for a tight slider, they dabbled with the notion of using Moreland on the mound heading into 2009, but he mashed his way to Double-A and ended those plans. His .331/.391/.527 season was cut short in mid-August when he fouled a ball off his foot and broke a bone, but he recovered in time to post an .855 OPS in the Arizona Fall League. Moreland has above-average power, especially to left-center field. He's an intelligent hitter who makes adjustments from at-bat to at-bat, and he hangs in well against lefthanders. Club officials say he's the best natural leader in their system. Though he's better at first base, he showed solid instincts and a plus arm when he played right field in deference to Justin Smoak at Frisco last year. Moreland has a funky swing with some holes in it, but he has worked to shorten his stroke and pull the ball with more authority. He's a below-average runner whose range is lacking in the outfield. Given the organization's glut of first basemen, Moreland's best route to an everyday big league job is in right field. He figures there in Triple-A this year and could be a solid regular in the Brad Hawpe mold before too long.
Minor League Top Prospects
Moreland fought his way from the 17th round of the 2007 draft to a starting job with division-champion Texas. The Rangers thought about making him a pitcher in 2009, and a year later he took over at first base for them after Chris Davis struggled and Justin Smoak was traded for Cliff Lee. Moreland has a balanced lefthanded stroke and the ability to drive the ball to all fields with plus raw power. He got in trouble early in the year by being too pull-conscious, but he showed a more solid approach as the season went on. He'll still swing for the downs, though, and isn't projected to hit for a high average. "We played them in the opening series and he didn't swing the bat well at all," Albuquerque manager Tim Wallach said. "Then the next couple times we saw them, he was a different hitter, using the whole field with some power. He was probably the toughest out in their lineup." A two-way player in college at Mississippi State, Moreland has a strong arm capable of throwing low-90s fastballs. While he has below-average speed, he has good instincts and is an average defender at first base or on an outfield corner.