Erling Moreno Bouncing Back After Two Years Off
I cannot imagine what it must’ve been like to basically rehab for two straight years, but that was the life of Erling Moreno. After missing all of 2014 and most of 2015 the 2013 IFA had an outstanding 2016 season at Eugene. A right-handed starting pitcher, Moreno displays a low-to-mid-90’s fastball and a plus-plus curve. At just 19 years old, the Colombian product has put himself in the conversation as one of the best young right-handed starting pitchers in the system.
Build – 6’3”, 200 lbs.
Bats – Right
Throws – Right
Will only be 20 years old at low-class A
Good WHIP, low walk rate
Low batting average against
Areas of concern
Lack of innings pitched
Next up in 2017
Moreno should begin the year at low-A South Bend, where he will be one of eight to 10 pitchers competing for a starting spot. He is likely to be the number two or three starter in an amazing rotation.
What I would like to see
One of the great things about Moreno’s 2016 season was the number of innings he pitched (64-plus) after missing basically two years. I would like to see him throw anywhere from 90 to 100 innings this year. If that means they have to shut them down in August, so be it, but the Cubs have generally been careful when it comes to breaking young pitchers in.
As for the repertoire, he still needs to work on a third pitch to complement the fastball and curve. He’ll still be able to get by with that combo in the Midwest League, but the same won’t be true of the Carolina League in high-A. So that additional pitch, along with overall arm strength, will be the key for this season.
After watching Moreno last season at Eugene, it’s clear that South Bend fans are going to love the way he attacks hitters. There aren’t a lot of wasted pitches, which should allow the youngster to go a little deeper into games at the beginning of the year. I would like to see him sustain that through the summer, as I don’t think there are going to be any pitch-counts restrictions like there might’ve been last year. We’re probably looking at the normal 75-90 pitches a game at this level.
Getting his fastball up to 94-95 mph consistently will make his low-80’s curve, and even his changeup, that much more special in 2017. It’ll be interesting to see what strength and conditioning work Moreno has put in over the winter and how that helps to springboard him moving forward. Definitely one to watch as the Cubs look to develop some homegrown arms to go with the bats.