Results tagged ‘ Hunter Morris ’

Hunter Morris Concludes His Dream Season With Arizona Fall League Invite

Hopefully Hunter Morris has a nice trophy case at home because the list of awards he received in 2012 is quite long.

Southern League Most Valuable Player, Brewers Minor League Player of the Year, Topps Southern League Player of the Year, Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award–just to name a few.

It might sound cliché, but Morris credits his on field success this year to old-fashioned hard work.

“It was a long process and a lot of work went into what I accomplished this year,” Morris said.  “I think it was a combination of things as far as success on the field.  I have put in a lot of work defensively and that helped my all-around game, but l certainly didn’t take any days off from working on my offense and maintaining my swing.

The awards were a byproduct of hard work.  There were certainly a lot of guys who were deserving of those awards I received.  I consider myself lucky and fortunate to be on the receiving end of those awards.”

Morris nearly had a Triple Crown as he led the Southern League in home runs (28), RBI (113), hits (158), slugging percentage (.563), total bases (294) and extra-base hits (74).  He finished fourth in the league with a .303 batting average.

“My consistency throughout the year was the biggest blessing I had,” Morris said.  “If something went wrong, I was able to fix it within a few at bats or a game or two.  Keeping those peaks and valleys to a minimum as far as the success and the struggles is important.  I was able to go out and focus on playing hard, rather than over-thinking things.  It was easy to relax and play.”

Hunter Morris bats in today's Arizona Fall League game at Peoria Sports Complex.

Hunter Morris bats in today’s Arizona Fall League game at Peoria Sports Complex.

Not only did Morris turn in stellar numbers at the plate, but his fielding was an important part to his MVP season.  He had a .995 fielding percentage and committed only six errors in 136 games played.

“Hunter has improved a lot defensively,” said Brewers President – Baseball Operations and General Manager, Doug Melvin.  “He looks a lot more fluid out there at first base.  His work with Bob Miscik, our roving infield instructor throughout the year was key and the repetitions he has received at the Fall League will continue to help.  We debated sending Morris to the Fall League because of the season we had, but the competition is good for him and will help him cap off a great year.”

Morris also credits Huntsville Stars Manager Darnell Coles—who is in Arizona serving as Hitting Coach for the Phoenix Desert Dogs—with a lot of extra defensive work this month.

“Working with Darnell has been great,” Morris said.  “He has really worked hard with me on getting better defensively, he has done everything I could have asked of him.  He played some first base in his career, understands the position and helped me out a ton.  My defense can always get better and I want to get better throughout my career.”

Hunter Morris works on fielding with Darnell Coles prior to today's Arizona Fall League game at Peoria Sports Complex.

Hunter Morris works on fielding with Darnell Coles prior to today’s Arizona Fall League game at Peoria Sports Complex.

A unique part of Morris’ dream season was the fact that it took place in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. often in front of family and friends.

“Having the season I had in front of my family and friends at home certainly made it a little more special,” Morris said.  “Baseball is baseball, you have to go out and play no matter if you are 3,000 miles away from home or in your own backyard like I was, but it was certainly nice to be home with my wife and son every day.

That was a huge blessing for me, but at the same time, it kind of takes away from baseball.  There were days when I was taking my son to doctor’s appointments at 8 a.m. on game day when my teammates were sleeping in.  Fortunately, I was able to put my family first and still have that proper balance of performing well on the field and focusing on baseball.  I loved every minute of being able to spend the season with my family, it was great.”

Entering today in Arizona, Morris was hitting .268 with one home run and six RBI, modest numbers compared to what he put up during the regular season, but Morris has played over 160 games since Spring Training and he is focusing on how to fight through the fatigue of a long season.

“I have struggled a bit at the plate out here, but that is probably a product of having played baseball since February 10th of this year,” Morris said.  “That is also one of the learning curves I need to go through to train myself to get through 162 or 175 games instead of 140 games.  I’m preparing myself to get through longer seasons.  It’s not going to happen overnight, but being here helps me work through struggles.  I’m just trying to build on the season I had, there is not a whole lot I am looking to change from the year.”

Today was Morris' 16th game at first base for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.

Today was Morris’ 16th game at first base for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.

This is Morris’ second stint in the Arizona Fall League.  The Brewers drafted him in 2010 and he received an invite from the club to play after his first professional season.

“Certainly a lot more twists and turns a few years ago, but this was my first truly long season that I have had.  Last year and the 2010 season is nowhere near the length of time that I have been playing this year.  It is a great situation for me to come out here and play with a lot of great guys, build relationships, make friends and work on fundamentals.  The experience as a whole, you are getting something out of it no matter how you perform.”

It seems as though Morris will make the move up to Triple-A Nashville from his hometown Huntsville Stars in 2013, but he is not taking anything for granted at this point.

“A lot of that is out of my control,” Morris said.  “I’m going to go home, take a week off, pick up right after Thanksgiving and get in the weight room to work on conditioning.  It will be a short offseason, so I have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time.  I’d like to be in better shape come Spring Training, which can be a challenge, but I plan on going home, working hard and continuing to build on this season.”

Morris can be found on Twitter @HunterMorris15.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Hunter Morris Adjusts To Position Change in AFL

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About a year ago at this time, Hunter Morris was going through fall conditioning at Auburn University preparing for his junior season.  Fast forward to today and the infielder enters today hitting .286 (14-for-49) in the Arizona Fall League with one home run and 10 RBI.

 
“It’s been busy year,” Morris said. “It seems like I have been all over.  We (Auburn) had a pretty good year.  It was a nice way to leave Auburn.”

morrisfielding.jpg

Morris plays third base during a recent Arizona Fall League game.

Auburn did have a very successful 2010 season, reaching the NCAA Regional and finishing with a 43-21 record and a SEC West Division Championship.  Morris gathered a number of personal accolades including SEC Player of the Year and First Team All-America.  He established an Auburn single-season record with 23 home runs in 2010 and hit .386 with 76 RBI.

Selected by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft with the 129th overall pick, Morris wanted to get right in the fold with the organization and quickly signed.

 “I signed right away which was what I was hoping for,” Morris said.  “I was fortunate to go to Wisconsin and start in the Midwest league.  I made it there for about half of the season that is still a long season there.”

After signing, Morris played 71 games with the Timber Rattlers of the Class-A Midwest League.  He hit .251 with nine home runs and 44 RBI.  Morris now finds himself playing for the Surprise Rafters in the AFL as a late addition, replacing Brett Lawrie.

“To go straight from that (Wisconsin) with a couple of days off right into instructional league and then the Fall League here, that’s a lot!” Morris said.  “Add that with changing positions and trying to make the transition from first base to third base, it has been a long year, but it’s been well worth it.  I am very happy about everything and I feel like I’m making a good transition to professional baseball.”

Near the end of Wisconsin’s season, Brewers Roving Infield Instructor Garth Iorg talked to Morris about possibly switching positions from first base to third base in hopes of getting him more playing time and becoming a more versatile player.

“It was a much easier transition than I thought it would be,” Morris said.  “There is always work to be done and always room to improve and I want to continue to get better, but to me, it didn’t feel like it was the first time I had played third base since high school.  It went a lot smoother than I thought.  To be honest, I am more comfortable at third base than first base.  It will be great to have both (first base and third base) as options moving forward and will only help me out.  I have about four gloves in my locker just in case!”

Morris is one of only six players selected in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft to be participating in the AFL.  He joins OF Bryce Harper (1st overall, Washington), INF Zack Cox (25th overall, St. Louis), RHP Chance Ruffin (48th overall, Detroit), LHP Sammy Solis (51st overall, Washington) and RHP Jordan Swagerty (75th overall, St. Louis).  Morris’ numbers prove that he fits with the caliber of players in the AFL.

“It is a good experience for him,” said Surprise Rafters manager Mike Guerrero.  “He has shown a lot of ability and he has shown that he belongs here.  We have given him a bit of a challenge in switching his position from first base to learning to play third but he has shown the ability to make the switch work.  He has a lot of promise, a good swing and great bat speed–very fundamentally sound at the plate.  Probably the best thing is that he has shown unbelievable work ethic and is definitely taking advantage of this opportunity.” 

Morris is humbled by the opportunity to play in the AFL this early in his professional career, but also sees it as a tool to improve.

“I’m very blessed to have made it to this point,” Morris said.  “Being here in the Fall League is a huge step in my professional career.  There are guys who have been in the game four, five six years who have never had this opportunity.  To come here and play and step right in and for the Brewers to give me that confidence to play at this level this early in my career is an honor.”

A native of Huntsville, Ala., there is a possibility that Morris would play for Guerrero and his hometown team, the Huntsville Stars this season.

“I want to make sure that I keep my body in shape and where it needs to be coming back to Spring Training,” Morris said.  “There are times during the offseason you can let yourself go, and I need to make sure that I don’t put myself in that position.  Coming from the SEC, a strong baseball conference and being a college guy, there is always that chance I can move fast through the organization.  It is my job to come out and perform and be ready for the 2011 season at home in Huntsville or wherever they see the best fit for me.”

Notes: I’m back in Milwaukee after my week in Arizona and I will continue to post a couple of stories the rest of the week.  Please keep your questions coming in for Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin for a Q&A with him later this week……If you want to follow today’s Surprise Rafters game, follow this link…..I would also like to say “you’re welcome” to everyone in Milwaukee for bringing some of the mild fall weather and sunshine home with me from Phoenix.  We will see how long it lasts!…..I don’t know if any readers follow any of the official Brewers twitter feeds (@Brewercom, @Bernie_Brewer, @BrewersHistory, @BrewersCF), but last Friday, Brewers RHP John Axford officially joined Twitter.  You can follow him as well: @JohnAxford59.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

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