Morris Focused On The Now

BROOKLYN, NY - In 2011, then Kingsport right-hander Akeel Morris posted respectable numbers during his first year with the team. A season later he lost his form, owning thirty-four runs in just thirty-eight innings pitched. However, he has done a complete 180 degree turnaround so far with the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2013.

"When I went back to Kingsport, I wasn't mentally focused, and I was pitching really bad because of that," Morris aid. "It was really frustrating."

He's not frustrated anymore. After a solid Extended Spring Training, the Mets showed faith in the St. Thomas native by promoting him to Brooklyn where he yet to surrender a run through his first eight appearances, spanning 25 innings.

When did he find out he was going to Brooklyn?

"It was a last minute change… early in the morning [in St. Lucie]. [Cyclones] Manager [Rich] Donnelly came to me and told me I was going to Brooklyn. I had to go back and get my bags packed that day and get out of there."

The promotion was not just a good guess by the Mets, the decision came after Morris made visible improvements to his game.

"I made a few adjustments coming into Spring Training, and its gotten to the point where I'm really comfortable. I try to keep a routine at Spring Training and try to be as consistent as I can with my delivery" Morris said.

""A late change for my mechanics this year was instead of moving my hands up and down, I just move my hands up at my leg kick. I keep my hands closer to my body, and I also try to keep my head straight as I deliver the ball to the plate."

Another reason for Morris's success in Brooklyn could be his work in relief, as opposed to a starting role. He did pitch better towards the end of last season after he was reassigned to the bullpen, giving up only two runs in sixteen and two thirds innings.

Pitching coach Marc Valdez agrees that a relief role has served Morris well.

"He's doing well in this role…. Right now, he's throwing lights out with his electric fastball, a plus changeup, and his curve is coming around."

Still, Valdez says the verdict is not out on what Morris's permanent role as a pitcher is.

"[His strong performance in relief] doesn't mean that later down the road in his career, or this year that he won't be able to go back and start starting again," Valdez reiterated.

Valdez cited Morris's mechanics and hard work as the real foundation for his success.

"Fine-tuning those mechanics has led to confidence every time he pitches. He seems to be a big-game pitcher, and knows he has to go out there to go three to five innings to close the game out the second half in a piggyback role."

"My mechanics help my confidence," Morris echoed his coach. "I'm staying calm on the mound [which] can help me get out of any situation."

He's able to locate his pitches much better than he did in Kingsport, helping him "stay ahead in the count and [get the] double play" when needed.

Even before starting his twenty-year old season in Brooklyn, Morris was confident about making the adjustment to the big city.

"I was surprised [by the promotion]… but felt really good about it," he said. "The crowd is much bigger and louder. When I'm pitching, I don't look… but I hear them. It's a nice taste of New York."

Morris draws encouragement from one impressive young arm that is already in New York.

"What Matt Harvey is doing right now is very inspirational. I like watching him, I like how tough he is. It motivates me to remain consistent and have good outings."

Although Citi Field is only a few miles away, this young hurler can not be caught daydreaming often. Instead, he'll continue to focus on his improvements at this level.

"I don't know where I will be at the end of the season, but I'm not focused on the future, I'm focused on the now."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"When I went back to Kingsport, I wasn't mentally focused, and I was pitching really bad because of that,\" Morris aid. \"It was really frustrating.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe's not frustrated anymore. After a solid Extended Spring Training, the Mets showed faith in the St. Thomas native by promoting him to Brooklyn where he yet to surrender a run through his first eight appearances, spanning 25 innings.
\r\n
\r\nWhen did he find out he was going to Brooklyn?
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a last minute change… early in the morning [in St. Lucie]. [Cyclones] Manager [Rich] Donnelly came to me and told me I was going to Brooklyn. I had to go back and get my bags packed that day and get out of there.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe promotion was not just a good guess by the Mets, the decision came after Morris made visible improvements to his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I made a few adjustments coming into Spring Training, and its gotten to the point where I'm really comfortable. I try to keep a routine at Spring Training and try to be as consistent as I can with my delivery\" Morris said.
\r\n
\r\n\"\"A late change for my mechanics this year was instead of moving my hands up and down, I just move my hands up at my leg kick. I keep my hands closer to my body, and I also try to keep my head straight as I deliver the ball to the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnother reason for Morris's success in Brooklyn could be his work in relief, as opposed to a starting role. He did pitch better towards the end of last season after he was reassigned to the bullpen, giving up only two runs in sixteen and two thirds innings.
\r\n
\r\nPitching coach Marc Valdez agrees that a relief role has served Morris well.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's doing well in this role…. Right now, he's throwing lights out with his electric fastball, a plus changeup, and his curve is coming around.\"
\r\n
\r\nStill, Valdez says the verdict is not out on what Morris's permanent role as a pitcher is.
\r\n
\r\n\"[His strong performance in relief] doesn't mean that later down the road in his career, or this year that he won't be able to go back and start starting again,\" Valdez reiterated.
\r\n
\r\nValdez cited Morris's mechanics and hard work as the real foundation for his success.
\r\n
\r\n\"Fine-tuning those mechanics has led to confidence every time he pitches. He seems to be a big-game pitcher, and knows he has to go out there to go three to five innings to close the game out the second half in a piggyback role.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"My mechanics help my confidence,\" Morris echoed his coach. \"I'm staying calm on the mound [which] can help me get out of any situation.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe's able to locate his pitches much better than he did in Kingsport, helping him \"stay ahead in the count and [get the] double play\" when needed.
\r\n
\r\nEven before starting his twenty-year old season in Brooklyn, Morris was confident about making the adjustment to the big city.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was surprised [by the promotion]… but felt really good about it,\" he said. \"The crowd is much bigger and louder. When I'm pitching, I don't look… but I hear them. It's a nice taste of New York.\"
\r\n
\r\nMorris draws encouragement from one impressive young arm that is already in New York.
\r\n
\r\n\"What Matt Harvey is doing right now is very inspirational. I like watching him, I like how tough he is. It motivates me to remain consistent and have good outings.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough Citi Field is only a few miles away, this young hurler can not be caught daydreaming often. Instead, he'll continue to focus on his improvements at this level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't know where I will be at the end of the season, but I'm not focused on the future, I'm focused on the now.\"
\r\n
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