The Atlanta Braves have signed University of Georgia first baseman Josh Morris, their 12th round selection in this year's Amateur Draft.
Since Morris is just getting over the College World Series, the Braves will give him a few days ago and he will report to the Rome Braves next week.
That will be a going home party for Morris, who was born in Cartersville, Georgia, about 25 miles east of Rome. He played at Cartersville High School with Will Startup, last year's fifth round pick by the Braves who is now in Triple-A Richmond.
And like Startup, Morris went from Cartersville to play in Athens at UGA. He hit .319 his freshman season with 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 238 at bats. Then in 2005 as a sophomore, Morris hit .273 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 194 at bats.
But this year as a junior, the six-foot-five, 230-pound Morris rewrote the UGA record books. The right-handed hitter batted .309 with 23 home runs and 68 RBI in 272 at bats. Morris was tied for second in the nation in homers, and finished his UGA career as the school's career home run leader with 51.
The Braves were thrilled when Morris slipped to the 12th round of the draft. When he arrives in Rome, he will replace Isaiah Ka'aihue, who was having a monster season in the South Atlantic League for the Braves before being promoted to Myrtle Beach earlier in the week.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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