The Angels announced on Tuesday that they’ve acquired righty Akeel Morris from the Braves in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Atlanta designated Morris for assignment over the weekend. In order to clear a spot for Morris on the 40-man roster, the Angels designated right-hander Troy Scribner for assignment.
[Related: Updated Los Angeles Angels depth chart]
Initially a 10th-round pick of the Mets back in the 2010 draft, the now-25-year-old Morris overpowered hitters in the lower levels of the minors, posting gaudy strikeout totals that helped to overshadow some glaring control issues. He quickly shot up the Mets’ prospect rankings, ranking 19th and 22nd among Mets farmhands in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 offseasons, respectively. The Braves picked him up in the 2016 trade that sent Kelly Johnson to New York in what looked to be a surprisingly solid return for Johnson at the time.
Morris has continued to post solid numbers in the upper levels of the minors, as evidenced by last season’s 3.09 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 32 percent ground-ball rate in 46 innings of Triple-A ball. The St. Thomas native also tossed 7 1/3 innings with the Braves’ big league club in 2017, allowing just a run on six hits and four walks with nine punchouts while averaging 93.1 mph on his heater. Morris is in his final option year, so the Angels will be able to shuffle him back and forth between Triple-A Salt Lake and Anaheim as they see fit this season.
As for Scribner, the 26-year-old made his own big league debut last season, pitching to a 4.18 ERA with an 18-to-10 K/BB ratio in 23 innings for the Halos. Unlike Morris, Scribner has worked primarily as a starter in the minors, spending the bulk of the 2017 season in Salt Lake, where he notched a 4.35 ERA with 9.0 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 with a 36.6 percent grounder rate in 103 1/3 innings of work. The former Astros farmhand, whom the Angels acquired in March 2017 in exchange for cash, still has multiple minor league options remaining, which should enhance his appeal to clubs that are thin on rotation depth in the upper minors.