Thorsby baseball player selected in MLB draftBy Stephen Dawkins Published 9:01pm Friday, June 6, 2014
Though the wait wasn’t as long as Matt Morgan expected, it certainly seemed like an eternity for the former Thorsby baseball player and his family and friends.
Morgan was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, becoming possibly the highest draft pick ever for a Chilton County player out of high school. Also, according to MLB, Morgan became the first Alabama high school catcher to be drafted in the first five rounds of the draft since 1998.
Morgan celebrated the accomplishment with more than 15 relatives and friends at Thorsby coach Ab Argent’s home. The party cooled their nerves long enough to enjoy pizza and soft drinks before turning their full attention to the widescreen TV in the living room.
Though Morgan’s agent gave him a heads-up that the Blue Jays intended to draft him with the 114th pick of the draft (he was projected to be selected around the 150 mark), there were still cheers when the announcement was made—and plenty of smart phones and tablets recording the moment.
Immediately afterward, Morgan fielded several phone calls and texts from well-wishers, distributed hugs to those in the room and even posed for photos with a young protege.
The 18-year-old had signed to play college baseball at the University of Alabama but said he will forgo college to begin his professional career.
Morgan thanked a support group that included his parents, coaches and former teammates. Now, he’ll quickly leave that group behind and report to Fort Myers, Fla. for training camp on June 10.
“They say, ‘Pack your stuff and get on a plane,’” Morgan said. “They don’t give you much time.”
But don’t think he’s complaining. Being drafted was a dream come true for Morgan, and the culmination of years of work and pressure.
Baseball scouts could be seen at every one of Morgan’s games this year, including a crowd of about 25 for opening day, reminding Morgan that his performance each day could have an effect on his career.
“It’s still cool to play in front of them,” he said.
Morgan has been the catcher for Thorsby’s varsity baseball team since his eighth grade season. He was listed as 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, and both bats and throws right-handed.
The analysts on the MLB broadcast praised his prowess behind the plate and “impressive maturity for a high school kid.”
THS coach Ab Argent said catchers with pro potential are difficult to find, especially ones with Morgan’s athleticism.
Morgan said he suffered through an extended slump at the plate during his high school career. Though friend, former Chilton County High School and current University of South Alabama player Cameron Cummings helped Morgan rediscover his stroke, Morgan decided he would make defense his mainstay.
The decision paid off.
“Today is just a combination of Matt’s dedication and hard work through the years,” THS coach Ab Argent said. “It came together today. It’s been an awesome experience to be with him.
“A lot of people would never have this opportunity. He’s getting to fulfill a dream.”