BRADENTON, Fla. — It’s been said that we are our own harshest critics, and Max Moroff embodied that idiom at the Pittsburgh Pirates training camp Wednesday afternoon.
While reflecting on his season last year with the Class-A West Virginia Power, the 21-year-old was candid about his disappointing performance in 2013.
His eight home runs, 48 RBI, and 52 double plays that he turned are encouraging numbers, yet Moroff knows the 102 strikeouts and 33 errors cannot be repeated this year.
“I’ve never failed so much in my life,” said Moroff. “It was more mental than anything else, but I struggled a lot, striking out more than usual and making errors.”
But Moroff wants to make it to the baseball big leagues one day, and is determined to put in the work necessary to erase last season’s shortcomings.
“The off-season went well,” said the Orlando resident. “I stayed local, and got stronger and fixed some things I really needed to work on like hitting and fielding. So I feel great coming in to this year.”
The Pirates prospect used the summer to keep in shape with notable MLB players.
“I worked out with some big league players like Nick Franklin [Seattle], Jemile Weeks [Baltimore] and Rickie Weeks [Milwaukee],” said Moroff. “They threw different stuff at me every day. It was fun.”
Moroff can also look forward to a fresh start from a positional standpoint. Originally a shortstop, he will spend more time at second base this season.
“It’s a little different,” said Moroff of the change. “But it’s an easier throw, and you have a lot more time.”
As a ball player, Moroff models his game after 2006 World Series Most Valuable Player David Eckstein, who also played both positions in his time in the MLB.
“I worked with David Eckstein in the off-season,” said Moroff. “He gets after it every day, and is a really hard worker. He’s a great guy to look up to.”
Along with support from players around the game, Moroff’s parents have been pillars of strength for him.
“I couldn’t do this without them. Especially in high school; taking me to tournaments, driving me three hours on the weekends, and skipping work to come watch me,” said Moroff. “They’ve definitely been a big influence on me.”
If for some reason playing baseball doesn’t end up being in the cards for him, Moroff said he could see himself coaching one day. But that isn’t a plan he wants to entertain right now.
“I love baseball. If playing doesn’t work out, I would love to coach. But I hope [playing baseball works out].”