Morris has a shot at the first Southern League Triple Crown in 40 years
August 3, 2012 6:09 AM ET
MARIETTA, GA - Huntsville Stars first baseman Hunter Morris has been named the Topps Southern League Player of the Month for July, an award voted upon by Southern League Field managers. It is the second consecutive month for which Morris has received the honor, marking the first time a Southern League player has claimed the award in back-to-back months since Delmon Young of the Montgomery Biscuits did so in May and June of 2005.
The first native of Huntsville to play for the Stars, Morris led the circuit with 10 home runs and 20 extra-base hits - totals that ranked third in all of Minor League Baseball in July. He also topped the league with a .736 slugging percentage and a 1.129 OPS (on-base + slugging) and placed fourth with a .340 average.
From the beginning of June through the end of July, Morris connected for 17 home runs to rank second in MiLB over that span. Despite managing just three home runs in the season's first two months, Morris was tied for the Southern League lead in that category through July with 20. He also finished the month ranked second in the league in both batting average (.308) and RBI (82) overall, giving him a legitimate shot at becoming the first Southern League player to top the circuit in all three Triple Crown categories since Mike Reinbach in 1972.
Morris enjoyed a sizzling stretch from July 5-11, batting .560 (14-for-25) with two doubles, a pair of triples, four homers and nine RBI in those six games. He connected for two of the Stars' six home runs in a victory over the Jacksonville Suns on July 8 and added two more blasts against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on July 25.
Riding a nine-game hitting streak to end July, Morris extended it to 10 with a pair of doubles on August 1. With a league-high 36 doubles through Huntsville's first 109 games, Morris has a chance to eclipse the Southern League record of 47. Jacksonville's Gabe Kapler and Robert Fick both established the league mark in that category in 1998.
In addition to Morris' offensive achievements this season, the 23-year-old leads all qualifying Southern League first basemen with a .997 fielding percentage.
Prior to being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Morris established a school record with 23 home runs in his junior season at Auburn. He also batted .386 with 76 RBI that year en route to Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors.
A four-time Huntsville City Player of the Year, Morris batted a .470 with 46 home runs and 198 RBI at Grissom High School. He originally was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Boston Red Sox, with whom he did not sign.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.