Parker Morin invited to big-league camp
There will be a lot more excitement around the Kansas City Royals this spring as the start of the 2015 Major League Baseball season draws near.
Going into Spring Training as the defending American League champions is something the Royals haven’t done since the 1980s, when they won their only World Series title. But, after losing to the San Francisco Giants in last year’s World Series, that’s the position the team finds itself in now.
Park City High School graduate Parker Morin, who spent most of last year at the Double-A level in the Royals’ organization, will try to make a name for himself going into this season. After hanging around for a couple weeks at the start of big-league camp the past couple years, the catcher has officially been invited to be a part of the Royals’ Spring Training roster this year.
Morin is already down in Arizona, where he’s readying himself for the grind of another full season.
"I just came down early," he said. "[The Royals] have an open camp that started in early January. It’s about half and half with minor leaguers and big-league guys. There are quite a few guys down here."
With the official date for pitchers and catchers to report coming up on Feb. 19, Morin said he’s just trying to get some extra work in.
"It’s kind of just getting back in the swing of things," he said. "We’re getting ready and gearing up before Spring Training starts. The pitchers will throw sides, we’ll hit and we’ll go lift. It’s not really any heavy on-field stuff yet. Then we have a pitcher/catcher mini-camp that starts next week."
Morin’s biggest focus this offseason was his hitting, which he has struggled with the past couple years. Though he’s a stalwart behind the plate defensively, he hopes to improve his bat work to advance through the Royals’ farm system more quickly.
"I’m real happy with where I’m at now," he said. "I hit more than I have the last couple offseasons. I’m really trying to get better at that. I’ve just got to keep progressing. Once we start facing live pitching, it should start paying off."
If it does pay off, and Morin starts swinging the bat better during Spring Training, he’ll be in front of the perfect audience — the organization’s top coaches and players.
"It’s a good opportunity to get in front of the staff and get to know them and have them get to know me," he said. "It’s also a good chance to get to know the pitchers we have on the big-league team as well. I’m really excited to experience it."
Though Morin is probably a long shot to make the Royals’ major-league roster this year, he’s hoping to continue advancing his career.
"I really don’t know where I’ll end up," he said. "I think it depends on how I do. I would like to start in Triple-A — that’s my goal. I want to move up a level every year. There are a couple factors that go into it, though — like last year, I got hurt, so I missed some development time. Plus, with guys above me, you never know what happens there. It’s just going to be a dogfight and whoever has a good Spring Training will get to move up."
The Royals first Spring Training game is scheduled for Wednesday, March 4, against the Texas Rangers at 1:05 p.m. MST.
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Chase Campbell, a Park City High School sophomore, has a busy summer schedule, including the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on July 22-23.