Almost every kid that plays baseball grows up dreaming that one day, he’ll become a major league player. The odds are against them from the beginning. “Of every 50 players drafted by a team each season, you’re lucky 1or 2 just make it to the Major Leagues,” was a statement Jed Hoyer made during the Padres recap of the 2011 MLB Draft. Even knowing that, young men continue forward striving to hear their name called out over the PA speaker of a Major League park. But what happens to players that don’t get drafted? How do they deal with the reality that no team even wants them in their minor league system? Where do they go and what do they do? Many players head to the Independent Leagues, where rosters are made up of guys cut by minor league clubs and undrafted players. For Bryce Morrow, Evansville was his ticket to a major league club. Earlier in the season, we had an opportunity to sit down for a chat with Bryce at Lake Elsinore.
Bryce started his baseball journey in the simplest of ways, “playing catch with my dad. I had a plastic bat and would swing at Whiffle Balls in front of the house.” He started pitching in Little League when he was in the third grade. Baseball wasn’t something that he desired to do right away. “My parents really had to push me to play baseball. I didn’t have anything against baseball I was just a quiet and shy kid who needed a little nudge to get me going.” His parents continued to encourage him and help him get better as a player. “As far as inspiration, I would have to give a shout out to my parents who even at a young age were very supportive of me. They always had the attitude that if they needed to go get me some instruction, to help me play on this team they would rather bankrupt to give me a shot at what I wanted to do.” They instilled in a Bryce the attitude that, “you never want to look back and regret that you didn’t work a little harder.” It is a life lesson that has stuck with Bryce and he communicated it often while we spoke.
Bryce has never modeled himself after another player, but has studied how, “other pitchers get people out,” but he is a fan of Mariano Rivera. “I like the way he went about his business, how he got people out and I was fortunate to shake his hand when the Yankees played the Tigers while I was in high school.”
After high school Bryce went to Central Michigan and played with them when they won their conference in 2010. “That was an accomplishment that I was and am very proud of. To play with a group of guys and coaches for 4 years and achieve your goal is a great thing.” After college, he was undrafted. “I was a prospect in high school that threw hard and had a little movement with his pitches,” but injuries slowed things down. As he recovered, he worked on his mechanics and started feeling better, never losing sight of the dream he had of becoming a major league player. “It was always in the plan and I was told you’re going to make it,” So Bryce didn’t give up and decided to head to the Independent Leagues. He first signed with Traverse City Beach Bums and pitched a total of 11 innings in 2011. For 2012, he signed with the Evansville Otters and things began falling into place. He started 19 games in 2012 posting a 3.93 ERA and 2013 he started 11 games and lowered his ERA to 3.30.
The Padres signed him to a minor league deal and he was sent to the Lake Elsinore Storm. Bryce started 2014 with the Storm and that’s where we were able to catch up with him.
Pretty quickly, Bryce was called up to AA San Antonio where he now starting and is showing pinpoint control and an ERA below 3.
We at Padres360 appreciate a young man like Bryce Morrow. He is focused on the moment, playing as hard as he can with the idea to be able to look back and have no regrets. To be able to stare in the mirror and know that he gave it his all, win or lose, for the game he grew to love. His family loves and supports him and we at Padres360 are honored to share with you a little of his story. Bryce is a young man that we hope our sons will grow up to be like: Never giving up, always trying your hardest, and living in the moment.