PCL notes: Morris gets to sound off

First baseman, Nashville squad struggle to find consistency

By Chris Jackson / Special to MiLB.com | July 22, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Hunter Morris can sum up the Nashville Sounds' season to date in just a few words.

"It has been confusing, stressful and frustrating," Morris said.

The Sounds have the worst record (35-66) in the Pacific Coast League, and in many ways, it has affected the many Milwaukee Brewers prospects on the club, Morris included.

Morris, a 24-year-old first baseman from Auburn, has hit just .239 this season, although he does have 19 home runs and 51 RBIs. Milwaukee's No. 3 prospect has been trying to find the same consistency he had at the plate last season, but it has eluded him to date.

"It's been full of adjustments, certainly some frustrations," said Morris, who was the MVP of the Double-A Southern League last year when he hit .303 with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs for Huntsville. "I've tried to keep my routine the same way, make adjustments to my approach at the plate as much as is called for.

"But just going back to the frustrating part, to have a good couple of days or put together a stretch of quite a few (good) at-bats, I feel great, and then the next thing I know, I'm not sure what I'm doing up there. That's kind of been how it's gone for at least the first half of the season. Hopefully, [I will] piece it together and finish strong the last couple of months."

Morris said the problem with his hitting is not a simple mechanical fix nor a mental adjustment.

"I think it's a little bit of both," he said. "I think it starts mechanically and then I let the mental side take over and try to fix too much. It might have been just one small thing to begin with. So the mental side prevents you from being able to make the physical adjustments you need to make. Hopefully I've got that all sorted out now and will try to put it behind me."

Morris' inconsistency at the plate is a big part of the reason he has not been called up to Milwaukee this year despite the Brewers getting very little production out of their first basemen. With both Corey Hart and Mat Gamel out for the season, the opportunity has seemingly been there for Morris to step up and seize the job away from utility players such as Juan Francisco and Yuniesky Betancourt.

"They've told us there are going to be opportunities for jobs," Morris said. "When they come up is not necessarily in our control. But what we can control is how you're performing when they're ready to give guys a chance.

"We have a great front office in Milwaukee. They do a great job. I put all my faith in them, not just for me, but they want you all to have success. That's all you can ask for."

In brief

Spicy Chili: Isotopes outfielder Nick Buss, who goes by his middle name of Chili in Albuquerque, went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Triple-A All-Star Game last week. It was the first All-Star appearance at any level for the 26-year-old, who has been a model of consistency for the Isotopes this season. He is batting .298 in July and .292 for the season, leading Albuquerque with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs.

Reach for the sky: Right-hander Collin McHugh has already conquered one hitter-friendly ballpark in the PCL this season, so it should come as no surprise he is doing well at another. After going 3-2 with a 2.87 ERA in nine starts at Las Vegas, McHugh is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts at Colorado Springs. He was traded from the Mets organization to the Rockies last month.

Vegas victory: Speaking of Las Vegas, Mets No. 12 prospect Jacob deGrom is also making a name for himself on the mound. The right-hander has gone 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in six starts for the 51s, though only one of those starts has been at home. That start, back on June 23, saw deGrom strike out seven batters over six scoreless innings.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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