Kenny Morgan is not a household name. Perhaps in the Morgan household he is, but that’s about it. Morgan is a senior catcher for the Clarion Golden Eagles, a Division II school in north-central Pennsylvania. Morgan won’t get drafted in the 1st round, or the 10th round; if he gets drafted it will probably be in the 2nd half of the draft.
But I had the opportunity to meet Kenny Morgan at Piratefest back in December. He introduced himself and mentioned he was a rising senior at Clarion with hopes of playing organized minor league baseball. I took his contact info and promised to follow up with him in the spring. What struck me the most in the 5 minutes we spoke at Piratefest was how apparent his love of baseball was and how badly he wanted to stay involved with it post-college. Morgan is the type of person whose best work in baseball will probably come away from the baseball diamond after his playing days are over.
We conducted an interview over email recently. I’ve conducted a few interviews with players over email these past few years, but none of them have given the in-depth and thoughtful answers that Morgan did. For the season, Morgan’s triple slash line is an eye-popping .437/.474/.678 (1152 OPS), which is a vast improvement over his junior season line of .202/.270/.317 (587 OPS).
Pirates Prospects: Are any scouts coming to your games or have you had any preliminary discussions with area scouts yet?
Kenny Morgan: I have seen and noticed scouts from most teams at my games this season. I haven’t talked to any of them directly though. My shortstop’s Dad is actually an area scout for the Minnesota Twins and is in attendance at every game.
Pirates Prospects: What drew you to the physically demanding position of catcher?
Kenny Morgan: Back when I was growing up I played just about every position there is. I started as a pitcher and short stop. As I grew older I moved to first base and then to the outfield. I was 12 years old when the catcher on one of my teams growing up broke his arm. I asked my Dad, who was my coach at the time, if I could give catching a try and he placed me back behind the plate and that’s where I have been ever since. I love the position of catcher, being involved in every play really allows me to learn something new about baseball every day. I grew up a very physical kid playing football, baseball, wrestling and basketball so the demands of being a catcher were right up my alley. Throughout the years I have learned that playing catcher comes with a lot of responsibility not only on the field but off the field as well. I not only have to come to the ballpark everyday with knowledge of the game, the opponents, and my team, but I also have to work my butt off in the off season and become the best conditioned athlete I can be to perform at the top of my game. To me catcher is the ultimate position and I am extremely fortunate to have found a home behind the plate.
Pirates Prospects: What is the strongest part of your defensive game as a catcher — arm, pitch calling, blocking/framing?
Kenny Morgan: I feel that the strongest part of my defensive game would be my arm. I always feel that I have a chance to throw any runner out that tries to steal on me. I also take a lot of pride in my ability to block pitches. I feel that I have quick feet that allow me to get in front of wild pitches that some catchers may not be able to get too. I also am extremely confident in my ability to call a game. I have been calling baseball games myself for my whole college career, and I feel that I have a great knowledge of the situations and adapt my pitch calling accordingly. I do understand that I have room to improve in all areas of my game and I have learned to never be satisfied with anything aspect and that I should always strive to be a better player.
Pirates Prospects: What MLB player would you compare your game to the most?
Kenny Morgan: If I were to compare my game to an MLB player it would have to be Buster Posey. I think that I hit like him, I have power to hit the ball out of the ball park and also drive the ball in the gaps. As a catcher I think he is the total package and I try hard to emulate his game. His arm strength is great and the way he plays the game is the right way. I always hustle everything out like him and am constantly backing up throws just like he does.
Pirates Prospects: What are you majoring in at Clarion?
Kenny Morgan: I am majoring in Business Management while receiving a minor in Sports Management at Clarion University.
Pirates Prospects: If you don’t get drafted, what would you like to do post-college?
Kenny Morgan: If unfortunately I am not able to move on and compete at the next level of the game, I have aspirations of being involved in baseball. I have often thought if I am not able to move to the next level that I would love to be a bullpen catcher for a MLB team. I think that I have a great eye for talent and could be a successful scout for an MLB team as well. Coaching is also something that I have dreamt of doing if playing doesn’t pan out for me. I truly feel that I gained a lot of knowledge of the game, and with the combination of that knowledge with my degree and minor from Clarion I feel like I bring a lot to the game of baseball whether it is on the field or behind the scenes.
Pirates Prospects: Do you think your degree and passion for baseball could lead you into a scouting or front office career with a club?
Kenny Morgan: As I said before baseball is my life and my passion. I have dedicated my whole life to this game and I feel that I would bring a lot to any ball club. So, absolutely with a degree in business management and a minor in sports management I am prepared academically, along with my experience having played the game for so many years.
Pirates Prospects: Your love of the game is very evident to me; explain to me how your interest was started in the game?
Kenny Morgan: My love for the game started without a doubt from my Dad. I would not be anywhere close to the player I am today if it was not for him. He taught me from a very young age about the game and most of all how to respect the game. His passion for the game was passed onto me threw the countless hours of practice he dedicated to helping me excel as a player. We would go to the field and we would go to Pirate games all the time because I always wanted to be around the game. I loved just listening and learning from him every chance that I got. As I started playing I continuously fell more in love with the game. My favorite memories growing up were spending the nights at the field hitting batting practice and working on the game with my Dad.
Pirates Prospects: You’re originally from Bridgeville and graduated from South Fayette — have you been to the restaurant Sauce? If so, how would you rate their mac and cheese on the 20-80 scouting scale? Favorite restaurant back in the Burgh?
Kenny Morgan: Being from Bridgeville allowed me to go to Sauce many times. Their Mac and Cheese is really good not to mention their awesome burgers. On the scouting scale I would say that they are rated a 60. A 60 is an above average rating on the scale and I would give them that rating because its good home style Mac and Cheese and because it is a side that isn’t really offered at all restaurants. Also my favorite restaurant in the Burgh would be Peppi’s, I have been going there my whole life and nothing beats the Roethlisburger they sell.