With Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal, Adbert Alzolay, Brennen Davis, and Codi Heuer all on the injured list and Caleb Killian still hanging out at Triple-A Iowa, the big league Chicago Cubs don’t have too many youngsters to distract us at the outset of a losing season. But that doesn’t mean there’s nobody.
The Cubs recently called up super utility prospect Christopher Morel straight from Double-A, and the 22-year-old has been electric early on.
Through his first five games with the big league Cubs, Morel has started at second, third, and center field, has recorded five hits and a stolen base. He even hit a home run in his very first big league at-bat (and he called it!).
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 18, 2022
But his recent success – both in Chicago and in the minors – was far from a foregone conclusion. And not just in the typical way that every prospect’s career comes with risk. Morel’s career nearly ended before it really got going. Thanks to some really excellent reporting from Andy Martinez, we now have some detail on the freak accident that nearly ended Morel’s career several years ago.
It is your must-read of the day. Here’s a snapshot of the much longer piece to give you an idea of what Morel went through:
The door shattered, and glass came raining down on him. The shattered glass sliced through nerves and tendons in his left arm and just above his left eye.
“My doctor told me there was no cure and I couldn’t play baseball again,” the 22-year-old rookie said.
So, he slipped on his glove onto his left hand, grabbed a baseball with his right and tossed it up in the air.
The ball came back down and hit him flat in the face.
Morel was devastated and humiliated. He ran to the bathroom and began to cry.
The moment could have broken him.
Instead, it defined him.
Martinez’s story also has some (present day) images of Morel’s scars leftover from the accident. Truly scary stuff.
As you’ll learn throughout the story, Morel worked his butt off – physically and emotionally – to get back on the field. And remember, this was a young kid – a teenager, for most of it – in a foreign country, almost entirely alone. He recalls lying to his parents to prevent them from worrying and eating the same fast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day because he was on his own and not sure what else to do.
(Frankly, the meal thing is yet another example of a clear competitive advantage so many teams are/were actively avoiding … just feed your minor leaguers well, especially when they’re rehabbing. But I digress.)
Please be sure to head over to Marquee to read the excellent story from Andy Martinez, and to hear more from Morel, Willson Contreras, and the Cubs on Morel’s rehab, journey, call-up, and career so far.
— Andy Martínez (@amartinez_11) May 23, 2022