Of interest to maybe no one but me

Toby Hyde is right in the middle of his always excellent Top 41 prospects series, and No. 20 on the list is a guy I’ve taken a particular interest in: 19-year-old pitcher Akeel Morris.

Y’all know by now that I’m often pretty down on prospects and prospecting, especially when it comes to pitching prospects that haven’t yet made it out of rookie ball. Toby reports that Morris throws really hard and “has flashed a plus curveball” but “has control issues,” which couple to explain why finished fourth in the Appalachian League in strikeouts and first in walks in 2011.

But that’s… well, whatever. I’ll concern myself with Morris’ performance more when he hits High A ball or something. What’s unusual about Morris among most Major and Minor League baseball players is that he was born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and went to high school there.

Three Virgin Islanders played in the Majors in the last 10 years, but all of them went to high school in the continental U.S. The last guy who went to high school in the Virgin Islands to play in the Majors is, as far as I can figure from baseball-reference, journeyman utility guy Jerry Browne.

There’s a bunch more on recent player development and scouting in the Virgin Islands here and a V.I.-specific baseball site detailing the history of the game in the islands here.

The way I see it, the more places that produce successful professional baseball players, the more people that get exposed to baseball. More people getting exposed to baseball means more people realizing how awesome baseball is, which means more people playing baseball and dedicating themselves to baseball, which means a bigger talent pool for Major League Baseball, which means baseball somehow winds up even more awesome. No pressure, Akeel Morris.

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