After yet another brutal series against the Oakland Athletics, Mariners fans like myself needed a reason to smile. This morning around 9:15 AM my frown turned upside down when I saw that the M’s had signed their top draft pick Brandon Morrow. A press conference officially announcing it was set for 11 AM and I watched it.
Before even touching on the press conference, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly Brandon Morrow inked his deal. Top draft picks just do not sign this early, especially ones as highly touted as Morrow. This speaks volumes about how much Brandon actually wants to play baseball, not just make money by playing baseball. It is a tremendous sign for his future.
Morrow’s press conference yielded little interesting information, but that is the nature of press conferences involving any sort of signing. It started with Mariners head scout Bob Fontaine telling the media how much the organization likes Brandon Morrow and that they are happy they signed him (real earth-shattering comments indeed). After a fairly brief round of opening statements, the media got the opportunity to ask Brandon Morrow some questions and he provided a few interesting comments.
With a rather monotone voice and the ample use of “ummm” from time to time, Brandon Morrow does not appear destined to become a media darling. However, he did avoid using the easy cliché answers and at times offered remarks that I found interesting. One reporter asked Morrow what made him better than other pitching prospects, which really put him on the spot. Understandably Morrow squirmed some, started by saying he didn’t know what made him better, but then gave a little chuckle and said, “I throw hard.” After that he said he hadn’t really seen many of the top pitchers, but that he felt his height made him a little better than one top pitcher he had seen, Tim Lincecum. At that point, Fontaine saved him (I thought he should have intercepted the question from the start because Morrow obviously isn’t going to know as much about other pitchers as the M’s scouts would) but I like that Morrow gave a truthful response and indirectly acknowledged that he is among the best pitching prospects in the draft.
More than anything, Brandon Morrow gave a little glimpse into his mindset at today’s press conference and I was excited by what I heard. At one point Brandon was talking about his time in the Cape Cod summer league, the most prestigious of all the college baseball summer leagues. He was not considered an elite pitching prospect at the start, but Morrow stated that he felt he should have been. Some would consider such a statement too cocky, but all great pitchers view themselves as great pitchers. It helps that he backed up his own opinion by dominating the Cape Cod league and becoming an elite prospect in the scouts’ eyes. Later on, a reporter asked Morrow how long he thought it would take him to reach the majors. He said he had no timetable, but that he expects to succeed at every level and also has no doubt he will be a major league pitcher.
By signing so early, Brandon Morrow has shown he wants to play baseball and that he has a true passion for it. In addition, he exemplified a supreme confidence in himself that is justified and also necessary for any prospect to become an elite player. Morrow looks as though he is destined to succeed.