Angel Morales was the Twins 3rd round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He attended the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School. He has since quickly moved through the Twins minor league system and is currently playing for the Ft. Myers Miracle, their Advanced Single-A affiliate. As Angel rehabs an elbow injury, he took some time to answer a few questions about his career.
Kevin Lewis: Angel, lets start with the day you were drafted by the Twins. Did you expect to get drafted that soon? Was there any indication that the Twins were interested in taking you in the 3rd round?
Angel Morales: Well when I was a senior studying at a baseball academy in Puerto Rico more than half of my coaches were major league scouts, but none of them from the Twins. I knew some scouts were interested in me, but to be honest, I didn’t know how soon, or which team was going to pick me. I really thought the Marlins or Yankees were going to; just for the fact of how many tryouts they invited me to. Hector Otero, which is now not also the scout who drafted me, but a great friend of mine only saw me a couple of times before the draft occurred.
KL: If we were to go back to the 2007 draft and I was a fan interested in the Twins draft, what would your scouting report say about yourself?
AM: Well I would say that Angel Morales is a five tool player with good speed and a plus arm with some unpolished skills, but with the correct personnel, he can improve them and be the best complete five tool player he can be.
KL: You have quickly moved through the Twins organization, spending a full season at each level. It appears the Twins want to have you in the Twin Cities within the next few years. However, there is quite the group of solid out fielders in the Twins organization (Aaron Hicks, Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Oswaldo Arcia), so it will be a battle for the outfield sports. What do you feel you have to improve upon to get the upper hand?
AM: Yeah I think it’s going to be fun one day. All of us in a major league camp competing for the spot. We have a very solid and talented group of outfielders. We all get a long very well and we talk about that at time when we have a moment. It will be a fun, but a difficult challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. I can’t really compare to anyone of them. I rather just focus on my ability and just trying to get better. I think I should work on my overall performance, but I think my biggest weakness is striking out too much, so if I cut those down I’ll be fine.
KL: You have had shoulder/arm issues this season at Ft. Myers. At first there was thought you need to undergo Tommy John Surgery and would really set you back on your way to the majors. It was later determined that surgery was not necessary and just rest and rehab would heal the injury. After moving through the system so quick, how tough has it been to not be able to play this season at Ft. Myers?
AM: Well just for the fact that I’m not having Tommy John Surgery I feel blessed. It has definitely been a tough time for me as an individual because I always set goals for myself and train so hard to accomplish them. Then the injury occurred and caught me off guard, but that’s part of the game. I just have to deal with it, stay positive, understand that this is a process that I have to go through. After that everything is going to be fine and I will be back to do what I love most, which is playing baseball.
KL: Being down in Ft. Myers this year and recovering from your injury, you have seen quite a few players from the Twins active roster come through dealing with their own injuries. Did you get the opportunity to get tips and/or workout with the likes of Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, and Jason Kubel?
AM: Well it was really special. I would definitely prefer meeting them in a major league camp rather than seeing them rehab injuries of their own, but I definitely learn a lot of things from them just by watching the way they handle their situations. You know about being injured they always have a smile on their face. They are very outgoing if they see someone who they think they can help they will. I mean they are very humble and I understand that it’s all about being healthy again to help their team win.
KL: Growing up as a young kid, was baseball always your sport and did you always know that you wanted to become a professional baseball player? Who was your baseball idol and favorite team growing up in Puerto Rico?
AM: When I was a teenager I just loved being active. I remember that I had my dad running all over the island traveling because I was involved with so many sports. I was on volleyball, track and field, basketball, softball, baseball, and even ping pong tournaments. I made my dad take me to tournaments of all sorts. But pretty much I knew baseball was meant for me because it was the sport that I enjoyed the most. I remember I always went crazy when I turned on the TV and watched Bernie Williams play. He was my favorite player and still is to this day. So every time the Yankees were on I always cheered for them because Bernie was on the team.
KL: The last question I always like to ask people is that if you had the opportunity to speak to a group of kids who one day want to play professional baseball, what one piece of advice would tell those kids?
AM: Follow your dream and don't let nobody take it away from you!!
KL: I would like to thank Angel for taking time as he rehabs his injury and wish him the best of luck the rest of the season and hopefully we will see you in the Twin Cities one day.
AM: Thanks for allowing me to share a little bit about my career as I make my way towards the Twin Cities. God Bless.