By David Krueger Herald Writer
Trever Morrison’s professional career could start with this week’s Major League Baseball draft.
More likely, it’s going to have to wait.
Morrison, a senior shortstop for Archbishop Murphy High School, is ranked No. 137 on Baseball America’s list of this year’s top 250 draft prospects. But he has made it known he plans to honor his scholarship to Oregon State University regardless of what happens in the draft, which opens Thursday.
“I’m pretty set on going to college,” Morrison said. “I definitely want the college experience.”
As a result, Morrison isn’t sure when — or if — he will be selected.
“Now the word’s out that I’m going to college, I would doubt that they would waste a draft pick,” he said.
Morrison, who helped lead Archbishop Murphy to the 2012 Class 2A state championship and to a third-place finish this year, talked to several teams this spring. He said the Cleveland Indians suggested they might pick him as high as the third round.
“(The contract) would have been between $650,000 to $800,000,” Morrison said.
Coincidentally, Morrison’s favorite player — fellow shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera — plays for the Indians.
Scouts from about half the 30 MLB teams came to Archbishop Murphy this spring to watch Morrison, The Herald’s 2013 Baseball Player of the Year. Morrison hit .550 as the Wildcats’ leadoff man, with 46 runs scored, five home runs and a .664 on-base percentage.
His play this season drew high praise from his veteran head coach.
“He’s the best shortstop I’ve ever coached in my 44 years of coaching,” Archbishop Murphy’s Stan Taloff said.
Taloff has had discussions with Morrison and his family about the young man’s future, but didn’t try to sway them one way or the other.
“I think it mostly depends upon the player himself, on what he feels,” Taloff said. “There’s a lot of factors — one has to do with the importance of getting an education and the placement of where you’re drafted, and some of the potential politics in either case, whether it be school or the professional leagues.”
The coach said the draft is always complicated. No one is ever completely sure what’s going to happen. He advised Morrison to wait to see where he’s picked and take it from there.
“You really can’t say (where Morrison will be selected). It’s fluctuated. Everybody is real coy about that,” Taloff said. “He’s known by all the teams, I’m sure.”
Morrison said he frequently talked to, texted and/or e-mailed scouts after games. He estimated he was in contact with more than 20, with about 15 of those coming to see him play.
While the scouts were at Roman Miller Field, Morrison remained calm by reminding himself that they were there for a reason.
“I was excited they’re there, but at the same time I was trying to calm myself down, and not try to do too much,” Morrison said. “Basically, I just had to tell myself they’re there to watch me for a reason. So that was my main focus. To just do what I can do and trust in my abilities.”
While Morrison’s plan to go to college may sadden those scouts, the folks at Oregon State are no doubt pleased. Morrison, who was recruited by several local schools, including the University of Washington, Washington State University and Gonzaga, signed with OSU. The Beavers are ranked the No. 5 team in Baseball America’s most recent poll and host an NCAA Super Regional this weekend in Corvallis.
“It’s one of the best baseball schools in the nation,” Taloff said. “He was really excited about that. He was recruited by lots of schools, especially the local ones. … I think as soon as Oregon State made its bid, that was his choice.”
If Morrison does, in fact, enroll at OSU, his goal will be to crack the powerful Beavers’ starting lineup.
“The starting shortstop right now is a senior, so he’s done no matter what,” Morrison said. “I don’t know the depth. I don’t know if there’s another guy in line. I’m looking to start next year at Oregon State. The coaches have made it clear I’m going to have to earn my spot. There’s nothing guaranteed just because I have a scholarship.”