Closing Statement: Yanks Sign Erik Morrison

Just when it looked like the Yankees weren't going to make any noise with pre-draft signings, they went out and made a very significant deal. Recently, the Yankees signed 2005, Division I saves leader, Erik Morrison. (Free Preview of Premium Content)

The overlapping 2005 draft and follow class was very much a disappointment for the New York Yankees. It was a group of talented players that simply did not perform to the expectations of the scouting department, therefore rendering them not worth being signed. However, the Yankees may have made up for the general failure of their draft and follow class with one swoop. In the final week of May, the Yankees signed one of the elite closers in college baseball, Erik Morrison.

Out of Ball State University, Erik Morrison racked up a Division I leading 15 saves and he is now also a finalist for the prestigious "Stopper of the Year" award. Not to mention, he compiled a dominating 1.32 ERA in 41 innings pitched and batters only hit to a tune of .208. Now, some may ask, why is such a prestigious closer not entering the draft this year? Well, because of past injuries and rehabbing stint, he was forced to redshirt the 2003 season at Ball State, therefore becoming a fifth year senior two years later. He also was not a worthy 2004 draft selection mostly because he really hadn't logged enough innings that season, his first at Ball State, to be totally back to where he would like to be health and endurance wise. However, things weren't exactly simple for the righthander. He was a walk on at the Ball State tryout in 2004 after transferring from Marian College right around the time he went down with a serious injury. About to try his hand at Division I baseball, Morrison was forced to undergo surgery on his rotator cuff and his labrum. This was the reason behind his 2003 redshirt. But, it was far from automatic that this, then shortstop, was going to make the team as a walk on. As a matter of fact, he was cut from the team as a shortstop, but the Ball State Pitching Coach liked the potential he had as a pitcher. Needless to say, the rest is history.

From a walk on senior, who considered giving up the game entirely at one point, to one of the elite closers in the nation, Erik Morrison has come a long way. And, that is the main reason why he drew so much attention from Major League organizations this spring. Because he was a fifth year senior, he thought better of re-entering the draft because of the smaller amount of money he would receive. But, despite all that, many teams including the Indians, Giants, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, and of course the Yankees were excited by the idea of picking up a star closer before the draft even began. The Yankees were determined to get him and they got what they wanted. They even told Morrison that they would outbid everyone just to get him. And, they did, for a price of $15,000, a hefty bonus for the standards of fifth year seniors.

Even though he was a fifth year senior, there is no one who can deny that this 22 year old will be a top closing prospect in the Yankee organization. He worked out in front of Yankee executives after the signing so they could make decision where he would be assigned. The organization came to the conclusion that they're new top relief pitching prospect will begin his professional career in short season A ball in Staten Island.

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