* C Matt Morgan, of Thorsby, Ala., drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 was given a $300,000 US bonus by the Blue Jays. And this winter they gave Morgan another gift when they signed his all-time fave, C Russell Martin, as a free agent.
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Blue Jays’ prospect Morgan excited to be mentored by Martin
Alabama native is looking forward to learning from his Canadian hero
By Jamie Mountain
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Blue Jays catching prospect Matt Morgan is glad to have Russell Martin as a mentor.
Morgan, a high school standout, was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 amateur draft and grew up idolising Martin, the current Blue Jays catcher.
The 19-year-old had a neat story to share on the pther day in Dunedin.
“In high school I used to watch a YouTube video of Russell Martin before every game I played, so he was definitely one of my idols growing up,” said Morgan, standing in the sunshine just behind the Bobby Mattick Training Facility, the Blue Jays minor-league training facility. “I think it’s an awesome thing for him to be our big league catcher and me being one of them in the minor league system.”
Morgan, a lifelong Blue Jays fan, is ranked as the top catching prospect coming out of the state of Alabama and his knack for defence behind the plate is something he has in common with Martin.
“I take a lot of pride in my defensive work,” said Morgan. “I have to still work on my offensive side of my game. But yeah, my defensive side of my game is definitely my strong suit.”
When asked what he finds most impressive about Martin’s game, Morgan had nothing but praise for the Canadian-born catcher.
“(I like) his demeanour and the way he carries himself on the field along with handling the pitching staff,” said a smiling Morgan. “He’s an awesome catcher, he’s really good.”
Morgan had an impressive senior year for the Thorsby High School Rebels, accumulating a .520 batting average while driving in 53 runs, smashing five home runs and leading them to a first-round playoff appearance.
The Rebels ultimately fell to the Alabama High School Athletic Association state finalist Sipsey Valley, but Morgan was named the Montgomery Region Player of the year.
“It’s always fun to have a good year especially your senior year,” said Morgan when asked what it was like to win the award. “It was almost just kind of relieving to go out on a good note with my high school team and teammates.”
Being drafted out of high school, Morgan decided to go pro right away rather than hone his catching skills at college.
In his mind, he couldn’t have made a better choice.
“I felt like as far as me personally, I was ready to play pro baseball from a maturity standpoint,” said Morgan. “I think that deciding to sign and start my professional career was the right decision.”