Morel Proves Fast Learner For White Sox
GLENDALE, ARIZ.—Learning quickly has been a way of life for Brent Morel since he graduated from Centennial High in Bakersfield, Calif.
A season-ending knee injury while playing quarterback limited him to DH, and Morel started his college career at Cal Poly as the Mustangs' shortstop in 2006.
But after Josh Lansford signed with the Cubs, Morel shifted to third base, where he has excelled quickly enough to have a reasonable chance of becoming the White Sox's starting third baseman—less than three years after he was drafted as a third-round pick.
"He's pretty unflappable," assistant general manager Rick Hahn said. "He has solid makeup and has developed very quickly. Fans might get a bit of a skewed perception, given (Gordon) Beckham and (Chris) Sale the past few years. But the fact that this kid is here to compete and possibly win the everyday starting job after being drafted only three years ago is impressive and a testament to his work ethic and makeup.
"(Scouting director) Doug Laumann and our scouts ranked those traits as strong going into the draft. He has certainly shown us that."
Morel, 23, impressed the Sox during a September promotion with his ability to adjust and his stellar defense. He started the final 17 games of the major league season.
The expectations won't be too great for Morel should he earn the third base job, and he is projected to bat ninth behind a cast of veteran hitters. But he won't be content, according to Cal Poly coach Larry Lee.
"He made himself into a very intelligent hitter to get to where he is," said Lee, adding that Morel spent hours studying video. "He is his best coach at making adjustments on his own."
At SoxFest in late January, general manager Ken Williams said he could envision Morel starting a minimum of four games a week even if he struggles in spring training.
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• The Sox and Diamondbacks added a charity exhibition game in Tucson to raise money for the fund started in memory of 9-year-old Arizona shooting victim Christina Taylor Green, the daughter of Dodgers scout John Green and former major league GM Dallas Green.