Colin Moran(North Carolina) made his triumphant return to the Bourne Braves after a broken hand limited him only 138 at-bats for the Tar Heels. Granted, while he was on the field, he hit to the tune of .384/.457/.543, 11 doubles, a triple, and 3 homers. Moran was not drafted out of high school but won ACC Freshman of the Year honors after a .335/.442/.540 line with 20 doubles, two triples, and nine home runs. A strong .289/.361/.371 showing last summer earned him the right to start at third base for the West squad at Fenway Park. Now he’s back in Bourne and picking up where he left off last summer.
At 6-4 and 205 pounds, Colin Moran still has room to fill out and that will be crucial to his development. At this time, I haven’t seen enough of him at the hot corner to determine whether or not he has the actions to play third base. Moran’s body-type looks like it will handle the position, even as he grows stronger. He has the quickness and arm required for the position, but I’ve yet to see him challenged in the field to determine his overall defensive skillset.
At the plate, Moran starts with a wide and open stance that he closes as he takes a relatively high stride into the ball. As this is happening, Moran lowers his hands to their loaded position. His hands are as explosive as anybody in the league. For a hitter with less contact ability and barrel awareness, his exaggerated stride could pose a problem, as he would be well out on his front foot and susceptible to offspeed pitches. Thankfully for Moran, he maneuvers the barrel of the bat through the zone with the utmost precision and carries through the ball with a short swing. He also has an advanced approach and pitch-recognition skills that allow him to look for his pitch to drive. In short, Colin Moran was born to hit and there is no limit as to how early his name will be called in next year’s draft.
Colin Moran falls into a trap, though. He’s not a power hitter, at least not right now, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are times when he tries too hard to show that he can muscle the ball out of the ballpark. He’ll rush his swing, pull his head off he ball, and that leads to inconsistent contact. Moran needs to relax and rely on his ability to barrel the ball. As his body matures, he’ll grow into more raw power and the ball will come off his bat easier than it does right now. That maturation won’t happen overnight. For now, he has the ability to square the ball up as well as any hitter in the league and, arguably, throughout all of college baseball.