Late in 2010, with his elbow in a sling supporting a carefully stitched-together ligament, Federal Way’s Elliot Morris had no clue if he had a career in baseball anymore.
And on Friday, he got his answer.
Nearly 21/2 years after having Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery in his pitching elbow, the right-handed pitcher from Pierce College was selected in the fourth round (No. 127 pick overall) by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2013 Major League Baseball first-year draft.
Overcome with emotion once he saw his name appear on the computer screen Friday morning, Morris gave a giant bear hug to his mother, Della, at home.
“I just ran to my mom,” he said, “and she started crying.”
The second day wrapped up Friday with some pretty notable names from Washington selected. University of Washington ace pitcher Austin Voth, a junior who starred at Kentwood, went to the Washington Nationals to close out the fifth round (No. 166).
Fifteen picks later, Jason Monda, a Capital High graduate and outfielder at Washington State University, was drafted in the sixth round by Philadelphia (No. 181).
Surprisingly dropping to the seventh round, Wenatchee High School’s Dustin Driver – the second-ranked prep recruit behind Kentwood catcher Reese McGuire – was taken by Oakland (No. 221), all but ensuring he heads off to college at UCLA instead of signing.
And in the eighth round, Puyallup’s Adam Cimber, who pitched last season for the University of San Francisco, was selected by San Diego (No. 268).
It isn’t very often a junior college pitcher gets drafted earlier than some of the best four-year players in the Northwest, but the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Morris has an electric arm, possessing a fastball-curveball combination that could slot him as a starter or reliever.
He did not pitch a full season until this spring, leading Pierce College back to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges’ championship game, losing to Everett CC.
The Angels drafted a pair of power arms out of the NWAACC in Morris and Keynan Middleton, out of Lane Community College in Oregon.
“Looking back three years ago, I never imagined getting drafted in the fourth round – ever,” said Morris, a Federal Way High School graduate. “This is great. You finally realize the work pays off. My whole goal was to get drafted ... so I really want to sign.”
As for Monda, a junior, he has been through this experience before. He was drafted in the 32nd round by Colorado out of high school in 2010.
The 6-4 outfielder is coming off his best season at WSU (seven HR, 40 RBI). He also pitched a lot out of the bullpen.
Monda isn’t sure he will sign with the Phillies or return for his final season with the Cougars.
“I’ve always been known as the guy who weighs all his options beforehand,” Monda said. “Either way, it is a win-win.”Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org