Erik Morrison drafted by the Texas Rangers

This from the KU news release:

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior Erik Morrison has been selected by the Texas Rangers in the 46th round of the Major League Baseball first year player draft. Morrison is the fifth Jayhawk to go in this year’s draft. He joins teammates Sam Freeman (St. Louis Cardinals), Ryne Price (San Francisco Giants), Nick Czyz (Seattle Mariners) and Andres Esquibel (Seattle Mariners), who were all taken earlier in the day.

Morrison, a 6-foot-1 infielder from Arroyo Grande, Calif., was a four-year starter, played both shortstop and third base in his Kansas career. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, but elected to return to KU for his senior campaign. He completed his Jayhawk years with a .279 average, 31 home runs and 171 RBIs. He also swiped 27 bases, including a career high 13 this season.

Morrison ranks second to Ritchie Price in games played in a Jayhawk uniform and at bats and is ninth in hits (244), fourth in doubles (57), second in home runs (31) and third in runs batted in (171). He was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention for the second-straight season.

Morrison joins former teammate Kyle Murphy, who was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 19th round of last year’s draft. Murphy is currently in extended spring training in the Rangers’ organization.

And here is bkmhoxx' take on EMo:

Erik Morrison SS (6'1, 195 lbs)
Morrison is a senior who was drafted in the 49th round in last years draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates but declined their offer and came back for his senior season at KU. With a solid senior campaign, he should be able to drastically improve his draft slot. Morrison has some very nice tools and has very high upside. Defensively he has a plus arm I would grade to be about a 7. He is a good fielder with good hands. He will flash the leather a lot this year and show off his arm strength although it would help him to cut down on some of his errors (10) and keep his emotions in check. Offensively, Morrison shows a good swing with decent power (7 HR) and decent speed (6 SB). The issue with Erik will be whether or not he can keep his average (.296) at a respectable level or not. If he can eliminate just a few errors, get his average up n the .310-.320 range and show more improvement, Morrison could be looked at fairly early. My guess would be 8th round on the high side, 20th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: This year E-Mo got his avg. up to .308, he hit 7 HR again and showed more speed with 13 Steals. He did have 16 doubles which shows possible power development in his future. He did however go from 10 errors last year to 16 this year, with 19 walks and 38 K's. I guessed rounds 8-20 at the beginning of the season, and while he did get his average up a little higher, I think his errors and strikeouts may hold him back a little bit. I personally think he can remain at SS at the next level. Most of his errors were throwing errors which are concentration errors. He will be a low risk/high reward type player for a team to take a chance on. He has a chance to be the first Jayhawk taken (I think it will be Paul Smyth). I would guess Morrison to go somewhere in rounds 15-20.

Morrison leaves KU near the top of several offensive categories.  He is #2 overall in career homeruns, and third in RBI's.  We here at Kansas have gotten used to having him in the line-up and will undoubtedly miss him more then we yet realize.  Erik did not explode into superstardom as seemed possible after his stellar sophomore season but he did remain a very productive bat in the lineup and provided fairly good defensive play at two of the most demanding positions on the field, third base and shortstop.  Morrison is also a plus baserunner and a real spark in the clubhouse.  It was clear this year that he had stepped up and assumed a leadership role on the team.  Morrison has exhausted his college eligibility.  I doubt you could find any KU fan happy to see him leave, or wishing him anything but the best at the next level.  Morrison still seems to have a lot of yet unrealized upside both in the batters box and with the glove.  If things come together for Morrison in the minors the Rangers got a real steal here.

Link here to an earlier write-up of Erik Morrison as part of the 2008 season preview.

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