Colin Moran Back For Another Cape League Season
By: Dan Crowley
Things are better the second time around, especially for Bourne Braves’ third baseman Colin Moran. A member of the Braves last summer, he was a late arrival at Doran Park because his University of North Carolina Tar Heels were in Omaha playing in the College World Series. In 26 games for Bourne in 2011, Moran hit .289 and was named to the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star team.
His season at UNC was cut short this spring because of an injury. Still, in 41 games for the Tar Heels, he finished with a .365 average, leading the team into the regionals where they lost to St. John’s University.
Moran is considered by many as one of the top third basemen today at the Division I college level. While his injury may have held him back this spring, he and the University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant are expected to be on the radar of many major league clubs and are expected to go high in the 2013 June Major League Baseball amateur draft.
As a freshman Moran arrived on the Cape surrounded by accolades. He had been named Baseball America’s Freshman of the Year and a Baseball America All-American. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named him to their Freshman All-American team and he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. He was the Perfect Game Freshman Hitter of the Year and was named to the Perfect Game All-Star team. This summer, with his shortened 2012 UNC season behind him, he is taking his return to the Cape a day at a time with his focus on becoming a better baseball player.
“Having a year of experience under my belt helps a lot,” Moran said of his return to the Cape League. “The coaches are the same and some of the players are the same. I am more familiar with the Cape and the league this summer. That experience helps with your confidence and makes you more comfortable.”
Moran grew up in Rye, New York, and was ranked as the 10th best prospect in the state, coming out of Iona Prep. Going to UNC was an automatic. His uncle, BJ Surhoff, had been a national player of the year for the Tar Heels before moving on to a 19-year Major League Baseball career. His older brother Brian was an All-American pitcher for UNC before signing with the Seattle Mariners. Brian, a left-handed pitcher, is currently with the Tacoma Rainers, the Mariner’s Triple A affiliate.
“I grew up around the game,” Moran said. “It was a big influence on my life. I was always going to my brother’s games. I looked up to him.”
Colin and Brian Moran were born four years apart and never got to play baseball together. Brian, who also attended Iona Prep, joined the Mariner organization the year Colin arrived at UNC after three seasons with the Tar Heels.
Colin’s skills at the plate have continued to improve. UNC Head Baseball Coach Mike Fox was quoted as saying to keepingitheel.com, “He’s just one of those kids that can roll out of bed and hit.” The head coach of the Bourne Braves, Harvey Shapiro, thinks that Moran may be better at the plate than Kris Bryant.
“It’s nice to be thought of that way,” Moran said. “It isn’t easy. You have to work very hard and prepare yourself for each at-bat and mentally you must have the ability to bounce back after a bad at-bat.”
His strong finish to the spring college season at UNC, along with the familiarity of being a second-year player for the Braves, has helped. He is relaxed not only at the plate but at third base as well, where a strong arm and quick feet have turned him into one of the best.
“I work hard and take pride in my defense,” Moran said. “A lot of it is reaction skills. I think muscle memory plays a role, but you have to have that knowledge to know how to react.”
This summer may be more relaxed and he may be swinging the bat well, but just under a year from now, Moran could very well be one of the top players taken in the 2013 MLB draft.
“I don’t think about it,” he said. “It’s a year away. I’m focused on today.”
He has never had the chance to play baseball with his brother, so a chance to play for Seattle would be nice, but the New York native admits to being a Yankees fan. However it works out for Colin Moran, he’ll be happy just playing baseball.
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