Morel Claimed by Jays
On Monday, December 23, the Chicago White Sox claimed Eric Surkamp off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. By claiming the 26-year-old lefty, who went to college at North Carolina State, the White Sox removed Brent Morel from their 40-man roster. Morel was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays — ending his time in the White Sox organization.
Morel, 26, was a leader on the Knights on and off-the-field. He appeared in 221 games for the Knights in parts of three seasons (2010, 12-13) and hit .275 (227-825) over that span with 107 runs, 58 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs, 98 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases.
A native of Bakersfield, CA, Morel was one of the most recognizable faces on
the Knights in recent seasons. A fan-favorite in Fort Mill, Morel had an exceptional 2010 campaign with the team, as he made his way to the Majors.
In 2010, Morel hit .320 (98-306) with 40 runs scored, 24 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, and 34 RBIs over 81 games.
He hit a combined .322 that season between Double-A and Triple-A with 10 home runs and 64 RBIs. His solid offensive play earned him a promotion to the Majors.
After appearing in 21 games with the
Sox in 2010, Morel was back with Chicago to begin 2011. The California native entered the 2011 campaign ranked as the 2nd best prospect in the organization by Baseball America. He was the club’s starting third baseman and was ready to prove he was capable of playing at the highest level.
The 6’2″ third baseman had a number of highs in 2011 on the South Side of Chicago. He had a September to remember, launching eight of his 10 home runs that month, including 15 walks and 19 RBIs in 27 games. He tied for third in the American League in home runs during the month. The eight home runs were the highest monthly total for a White Sox rookie since Josh Fields (another former Knights slugger). Fields hit nine in August of 2007.
Morel recorded multi-homer games on two occasions during the month of September (9/8 vs. Cleveland and 9/12 vs. Detroit). He finished the year with a .245 batting average, 18 doubles, 10 home runs, and 41 RBIs over 126 games. The former third round pick of the 2008 draft also finished with a .953 fielding percentage, which was good for fifth-best in the American League at third base. His 211 assists were good for fourth-best among AL third basemen.
After starting the 2012 season with the White Sox, Morel suffered a back injury and was placed on the DL on May 22 (retro to May 18). He started a rehab assignment with the Knights on May 30 as he tried to work his way back to the Majors.
Morel got off to a fast start with the Knights. In his first game with the club in 2012, he went 2-3 with a double and a run scored. In his first two games, he had four hits in eight at-bats. He had a hit in five-straight games and six of his first seven. He appeared in nine games with the Knights on his first rehab assignment and hit .267 before re-aggravating his injury. He was later returned to Chicago.
He returned to the field over a month later — this time with the Winston Salem Dash (A+) and appeared in seven games for the club, before he was transferred back to Charlotte. He played with the Knights from July 27 to August 8, before a right eye infection sidelined him for nine days.
Morel was back on the field for the Knights on August 17 and he had back-to-back-to back two-hit games from August 25-27. He helped the Knights as they clinched a playoff spot and helped the team to the International League finals. Unfortunately, the Knights lost in the finals to the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Overall, Morel hit .194 over 34 games with the Knights in 2012.
This past season, Morel started the year with the Knights and was one of 21 Knights players to earn a promotion to Chicago.
He appeared in 106 games for the Knights and led the team in a number of offensive categories.
Morel led the club in runs scored (55), doubles (30), RBIs (54), he tied for first in triples (3), and finished second in at-bats, second in hits (105), tied for second in stolen bases (14), and third in games (106). He had a solid year on the field for the Knights and was always a great help in the community as well.
Now, Morel will join the Toronto organization and his former Knights teammates Dan Johnson and Steve Tolleson, who both signed with the Jays this offseason. They also have another former Knight in their organization — Tomo Ohka. Could they be the Toronto Knights? Only time will tell. In the meantime, good luck in the Toronto organization Brent.