Cody Morris
(Photo courtesy of Gaudium Photography)

Laurel resident Cody Morris grew up going to minor league baseball games in Frederick and Bowie when he got a close-up look at minor league prospects in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.

But it was a very different situation last month when the Reservoir High School graduate was at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick.

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Morris is now a starting pitcher for the Lynchburg (Va.) Hillcats, the high Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The Frederick Keys and Hillcats are both in the Carolina League and they met in a series in early July.

“All of my friends from high school came,” said Morris, who also had several family members in attendance. “It was a crowd; it was hard to get tickets” for everyone.

Morris, 22, did not pitch in the series against the Keys since he had just started a game before Lynchburg came to Frederick.

He was able to pitch in front of family members recently when he started for Lynchburg in a game in Woodbridge, Va., against the Potomac Nationals — the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Morris went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs with seven strikeouts and one walk. He did not figure in the decision as Lynchburg won 14-4 over Potomac.

That left Morris with a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 3.90 in seven starts this season for Lynchburg. His fastball has been clocked in the upper 90s.

“He has performed well throughout,” Lynchburg pitching coach Joe Torres said. “The performance is a bonus. Health is No. 1. He has a fastball, curve and change up and all three have the potential to be plus pitches in the majors.”

Morris is very high on Torres and soaks in his knowledge.

“He is really educated in the game,” Morris said. “He is a great guy; I have not had a coach like him before. He understands how your body works.

"He is very, very smart. He is a very good pitching coach.”

Morris has made steady progress in his first full season of professional baseball.

He was a college standout in the Southeastern Conference and was drafted in the seventh round out of the University of South Carolina in June of 2018.

He was assigned to a team in the Arizona League but didn’t pitch last year. Morris then went to spring training in Arizona with the Indians.

“I started the year in extended spring training because they weren’t sure if I would be a starter or reliever,” he said.

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The Indians decided to use him as a starter, and he was assigned to low Single-A Lake County of the South Atlantic League on April 27.

Morris was part of the rotation with Lake County and was 5-2 with an ERA of 3.20 in 10 games, with nine starts, for the minor league team near Cleveland.

“I had some decent numbers. Most of the starts were pretty good,” he said.

Morris was promoted to high Single-A Lynchburg on June 20, while Lake County was in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He got the good news from Luke Carlin, the manager of Lake County.

“I was pretty stoked about that,” Morris said.

He was on the seven-day injured list from July 8-21 with a lower back strain then returned to the rotation for Lynchburg.

Morris embraces analytics to aid him as a pitcher. “It is huge in our organization,” Morris said.

The Reservoir High graduate said former Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer, who was traded to Cincinnati last month, was big on analytics. “That trickled on down,” Morris said.

The Laurel resident never got to talk with Bauer, but did get to meet Major League pitcher Nicky Goody, a key reliever for Cleveland. That happened last summer when Morris was doing some rehab work at the Indians complex in Arizona.

“He was super, super nice,” said Morris, who was there with other relievers. “He went out of his way to talk to us. He even remembered our names.”

Morris feels a realistic goal for him next year is to reach the Double-A level in the Cleveland system.

“I really see next year being a big year for him,” Torres said.

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