Matt Morgan works on a receiving drill at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex

Blue Jays’ Matt Morgan makes jump to the pros

Young catching prospect knows he is ready despite bypassing university

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Matt Morgan knew out of high school that the pros would be his next stop.

The Blue Jays drafted Morgan in the fourth round of the Rule 4 Draft last year, making him the highest drafted catcher out of the state of Alabama since Lee Evans in 1996.

Despite a soft commitment to a major U.S. college, the 19 year old couldn’t wait to get his professional career started.

“I signed (a letter of intent) with (the University of) Alabama,” said Morgan, at a picnic table at the Bobby Mattick Training Center on Friday afternoon. “I love Alabama to death, but personally I felt like I was mature enough and ready to start my career early.

“I’m really happy with my signing and have absolutely no regrets.”

Being named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association all state team from 2012-14, and winning the 3A Hitter and Player of the Year awards last season aided Morgan’s decision to make the jump.

The six-foot-one, 190 ppund catcher never doubted his choice, but admits that getting the call from the Blue Jays was a relief.

“Family, friends, everyone was around so it was an awesome day,” said the 114th overall pick. “It was almost a relief to know I got the opportunity (to play pro ball).

“It was incredible.”

Growing up, the right-handed slugger played whatever position his coaches asked. He made the decision to make catching his primary position at the age of 13.

“I enjoy inning control. I have a chance to be in the play,” said Morgan. “Some times (when you’re out in the field) you can kind of zone out.

“Catching keeps me locked in and I like that feeling.”

The transition from Thorsby, a town with a population barely pushing 2,000, to the Tampa-Clearwater area has been quite the experience for the Blue Jays prospect.

“It was a culture shock at first,” said Morgan. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job adjusting though.”

The young catcher experienced a drop in on-field production last year making the transition to rookie ball. He saw his batting average sink to a disappointing .092 with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

“It was an adjustment, playing for my high school to playing professional baseball,” said the fourth rounder. “It was an adjustment because one, I had to focus on catching just as much as I had to focus on hitting.

“Also the velocity of the game, how long the season was, every day getting up grinding.”

Morgan has made major strides since high school, but knows he has a long way to go before he can play in front of the home crowd at the Rogers Centre.

“You see on T.V. that (the pros) don’t mess up,” said the catcher. “I have to just hone my game and perfect every little thing about it.”

 

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