For Trever Morrison, the dream began as a boy growing up in Bothell. Because he loved baseball, he went to games at Safeco Field and would imagine himself one day playing for the Seattle Mariners or some other major-league team.
Morrison, a 2013 graduate of Everett’s Archbishop Murphy High School, took a big step toward fulfilling that dream last week when he signed a pro contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was selected in the 12th round of the June draft following his junior season at Oregon State University, and he was assigned by Milwaukee to the Helena (Mont.) Brewers of the short-season Pioneer League.
“I’m very happy to be starting my professional career,” said the 21-year-old Morrison, speaking by telephone from Helena. “It’s something me and my family have always wanted, and now it’s just a blessing to have this opportunity.”
Morrison waited more than two weeks to sign with Milwaukee, a period that included negotiations over the team’s offer of a signing bonus. “It was a little bit stressful and I was just hoping to get it over with,” he admitted. “I wanted to make sure I had (a good) agreement so I could stop worrying about the business side of it and just start playing ball.”
While at Archbishop Murphy, Morrison blossomed from a good player into a promising prospect. He was chosen in the 36th round of the 2013 draft, even though he had made clear his plan to attend OSU. But he improved his status in three years with the Beavers, capped by a junior season in which he played in all 54 of the team’s games, batting .284 with 10 doubles, five triples and a home run for a .402 slugging percentage and played solid defense at shortstop.
He joined his new team on a road trip to Billings last week, but had to wait until it returned to Helena to take his physical and then get the OK to begin working out. After several days of inactivity “I’m getting antsy, that’s for sure,” he said on Monday, but that night he made his pro debut, going 1-for-3 in the second game of a doubleheader against Billings.
Already Morrison has seen one difference between college and pro baseball. Pro ball “is a little more laid back than collegiate baseball,” he explained. “The practices are kind of like you’re on your own time, and if you want to get better, you go ahead and put in the work. In collegiate baseball, it’s like you have to do this, this and this, and you also have to do it 100 percent or you’re going to run (disciplinary sprints). But that’s not how it is here.”
Other adjustments include the use of wood bats instead of the metal bats of high school and college, and the expectation of long bus rides. Top college programs such as Oregon State often fly to games and tournaments, but teams in the low minor leagues ride buses everywhere. Morrison already has been on one five-hour trip, and he has been told to expect others as long as 11 or 12 hours.
But the good news, he said, is the confidence of knowing he belongs. “I’ve been saying to myself that I’m on a minor-league team and I know I can play with (the other players) and I know I can compete with them. It was like a big eye opener for me.”
Stan Taloff, Morrison’s coach at Archbishop Murphy, has no doubt Morrison can succeed. “Trever’s got all the tools,” Taloff said. “He hits well from the left side, he runs the bases like a deer and defensively he can be magical at times. So he’s got as good a chance as anybody to make it.”
The other thing, Taloff added, “is that he’s got a great attitude. He’s made the transition from being an outstanding high school player to being an outstanding college player at one of the best programs in the nation, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t climb the ladder (of pro baseball) pretty high. … I hope to see him in the big leagues and I know that’s what his hope is, too.”
Indeed, that is Morrison’s dream, though “I’m a believer in controlling what you can control and not looking too far in the future,” he said. “I’m just worried about my next at-bat. That’s what I’m focused on, and then making sure I stay healthy and strong.”
But the chance to play pro baseball, and the opportunity to take the first steps on a path that will perhaps lead to the big leagues, is certainly thrilling.
“It’s definitely a dream come true, but this is only the beginning,” he said. “My goal is to be in the big leagues, so I’ve got to make sure that I get over the ‘Wow’ factor. I need to keep working hard and not rest on (being in) the minors, but keep trying to strive for greatness.
“When I signed, it was a good feeling for a moment and I celebrated a little bit, but I also understood that it was just the beginning of a journey. And it’s a long journey, but it’s also a journey that I want to be on.”