Left-handed starting pitcher Adam Morgan was among a group of Phillies prospects that had breakout seasons in 2012. The team’s 3rd round draft pick last year has been on the fast track upward in the developmental ranks since he turned pro less than 15 months ago.
After posting a 3-3 record with a 2.01 ERA in 11 starts last season for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, the University of Alabama product skipped full season A level Lakewood and began this season in the Florida State League. There, he tallied a 4-10 record with a 3.29 ERA and was named a mid-season All-Star.
With Clearwater, Morgan posted a 1.29 ERA in five July starts and was named as the Phillies’ minor league pitcher of the month. Soon after, the 22-year-old found himself promoted to Double-A Reading, where he helped the club lock down a playoff spot in the Eastern League.
Last week I spoke with Adam about his father Wiley, who was a big inspiration in his life, his pitch repertoire, his tremendous first full season as a pro and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear the full interview and just beyond the media player is the full text of this interview.
Adam, you had an amazing July with the Threshers, then got promoted up to the Eastern League. You’re kind of on the fast track right now. Thoughts on the speedy pace of your rise here…?
It’s been great. I never thought that I would get this high, so fast, in the organization. So, I’m just taking it day by day and just improving every day and trying to learn something new every day.
You were drafted in the 3rd round last year out of the University of Alabama and I just wanted to get your thoughts on the draft process last year. How did you learn you were drafted, how did you track the draft and how did you celebrate?
I had a commitment to the University of Alabama and we were still playing and we had a chance to win, so at first I was just worried about that and let my agent handle the rest. And we got beat out and I headed home the next day and that was the second day of the draft. I just let my agent take care of it. I had a couple phone calls and I was like, “I’m not going to sign for this”, because I already had a set amount…and my agent was like, “You just got taken in the 3rd round by the Phillies and I was like, “That’s awesome!”
Really, there wasn’t much celebrating. I celebrated with my family when I got home. But through the whole draft process, I just kind of let my agent take care of it.
Okay, so you said you got to celebrate with family once you got home. How much time had past when you actually did get a chance to celebrate?
Probably till I got back from short-season. It’s really when I got to celebrate with all my friends and, you know, we just kind of kept it low key and went and had fun.
So, you played in the SEC…how did that conference prepare you for pro ball do you think?
It helped me out a lot. You know, like I always say, the hitters will know, will tell you when you’re doing something wrong. That was a good conference to be in ’cause you learn a lot of things quick. So, it kind of helped me out heading into pro ball against more disciplined hitters.
You did pretty well last year with Williamsport after signing your first pro deal, then you skipped Lakewood this year and come out doing great things with Clearwater. Can I get some thoughts on skipping the level and then having success down there at Class A Advanced.
Our pitching coordinator called five of us in, all the five starters and said, it was about the last week in spring training, and said, “This is gonna be the starting rotation for Clearwater.” I was ecstatic. But I talked to Lance Carter, my pitching coach in Williamsport, and he said, “You’re good enough to play in that league. Just go out and don’t do anything too special.” And that’s exactly what I did. Didn’t try to help out, didn’t try to do too much. Just did what I do and stayed myself.
Taking a look at your stats, you always post really solid strike out numbers, always averaging more than a K per inning. What’s your pitch repertoire like and what do you consider your out pitch?
I just throw a fastball, slider, curve ball and a change up. In Clearwater, it was more the slider. But, I credit a lot to my change up this year. It’s been helping me out a bunch. So, with that being said, the change up’s a great pitch. I’ve had a few swings and misses on that, but probably my slider has been my strike out pitch.
Checking out your bio info, you can see that your dad was a pitcher…just want to see what kind of influence your dad has been. Talk about him a little bit and his impact on your baseball career.
My dad’s been my hero and my coach ever since I was a little kid. He never put too much pressure on me, but I just always wanted to be like him. I always wanted to go to Alabama. I remember in 5th grade they said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And I said I wanted to be an Alabama pitcher and when I got the chance to commit there, I did, and he was proud of me and that’s what makes everything worthwhile, is when my family’s proud of me.
That’s really cool And clearly you looked up to your dad a lot. As far as other players you looked to as a youngster, who would those be?
When I was real young, I mean, I’m still a Braves fan, but it was probably Tom Glavine, ’cause just going out there and not blowing anything by anybody, just pitching and all the movement he had on his ball, he was just cutting guys up, it was fun to watch.
It seems like so many pitchers in the Phils system grew up liking the Braves. Austin Hyatt’s from down there, David Buchanan’s from down there and there are others…when you become a Phillie, when you get drafted by a division rival, how does that weigh on the family and friends and their abilities to root for you?
Not much. Everybody was just ecstatic for me and happy for me, so just getting the opportunity to play professional baseball is beyond words. It’s just amazing, so when you get the opportunity, you’ve just gotta take it and run with it, no matter who it’s with. And now that I’m with the Phillies organization, it’s a great organization and they’ve been nothing but good to me.
And if the family and friend can roll with you, that’s cake too, right?
Oh, yeah. You gotta get them to sway on your side and that’s been easy to do.
As we mentioned you were a draft pick last year and so a lot of folks still would need to get to know you, so if you were going to select your favorite baseball movie, what would that be and why?
The Sandlot! I grew up watching that. It’s just how me and my buddies used to play. We used to play in the cul de sac, so we’d always be like Benny the Jet and we always had a dog. There was a dog down the street- I forget his name- but he was a big huge rottweiler and any time we hit the ball over the fence, we would have to stop playing. So, that was a great movie and it’s always been my favorite movie.
And the last thing for you…do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?
I’ve got too many. Too many that I can’t reveal. I think one them…I like cleaning my cleats. Up here, when you get up here, they’ll clean them for you, but I like cleaning my cleats on gameday just to show respect to the game and the game will respect you.