Parker Morin feels at home with Royals
It was an exciting year to be a part of the Kansas City Royals organization. As the Major League club finally made it back to the playoffs and fought its way to the World Series, excitement abounded throughout the organization’s lower levels as well.
Parkite Parker Morin spent this year playing for a couple of the Royals’ minor-league teams, with most of his game action coming at the double-A level. Being a part of an organization that made a dramatic run to the World Series was a lot of fun, he said.
He remembers watching one of the key turning points of the playoff run. During the wild card game against Oakland, the Royals were trailing late until momentum shifted.
"That seventh inning with [Jon] Lester, I still remember it," he said. "Lorenzo Cain came up and got an RBI base hit up the middle and I was like, ‘OK, they’re not out of it.’ You could tell there was something special going on. It just seemed like, from there on, there was plenty of momentum for them to keep rolling."
Though the Royals eventually lost the World Series to the San Francisco Giants, Morin said he’s thrilled to be in a system he thinks is moving in the right direction. Seeing a low-budget team like Kansas City succeed shows him that people in the organization know how to develop young players.
"Being a small-market club, they like to develop from within the organization," he said. "You can’t afford to go out and buy all these players like the Giants and Yankees and Red Sox and those teams do. You rely on them having faith that their staff is going to develop you into a World Series-caliber player."
Working with members of the coaching staff in the minors has really helped Morin’s game. As a defense-first catcher, he said the team is pushing him to succeed in all the right ways.
"They’re always going to be an organization that can develop players into who they want them to be," he said. "Their goal is to get you to your ceiling — that’s what they always tell us. Wherever your ceiling is at, whether it’s at the big-league level or AAA, they’re going to get you there."
Morin spent most of the season at AA, but made a brief appearance at the AAA level in 2014. His goal for next year is to spend most of his time with the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers.
"I’ve moved up a level every year, so that’s definitely going to be my goal this year," he said. "I want to make that jump up there and start the season in AAA."
To be able to do that, Morin knows he has to stay healthy and handle the bat better.
"Right now, I’m catching fine," he said. "They really like what I’m doing defensively, but I just have to handle the bat a little more and then I’ll be all right."
The daily grind of being a professional baseball player is something he needs to train his body to handle better, Morin added.
"In college and high school, you’re not playing every day," he said. "You have four or five practices and then you play one or two games a week. I’m trying to find that balance of how hard I need to work while also thinking of how you have to do it again 21 days in a row sometimes. I’ve just got to stay healthy — that’s what it comes down to."
This offseason, he’s focusing on improving a few areas of his game by working out at the University of Utah and teaching at The Turf in Park City.
"Right now, I’m working out at the U every day, trying to get stronger and get in really good shape for a long season next year," he said. "And [The Turf] is the dream job you can have for an offseason. Not only do you get to work on your own skill, but you get to teach it, too. It helps you understand why you do things and why you feel the way you do about things."
Ultimately, Morin would like to find a winter league to play in so he can see live pitching before he reports to spring training in February.
"If I could get somewhere and play in the winter to work on my swing more and get more at-bats so I can see more pitches, that would be the ultimate goal for me," he said.
But overall, Morin said, there’s a lot he has to be thankful for this holiday season as he works on furthering his baseball career.
"I’m really happy with where I’m at," he said. "Being with the Royals has been great. They’ve been great at keeping me in the loop about stuff. They make you feel prepared and ready to handle anything."
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