Drafted by the Angeles in the 13th round last year out of North Carolina, right-hand pitcher Michael Morin is rising fast through the minor league system. Beginning the season at Inland Empire (A), Morin was promoted to the Travelers on June 28. A native of the Kansas City area, Morin attended high school at Shawnee (Kan.) Mission South.

You skipped your senior year at North Carolina to turn pro. Was that a hard decision?

It was really hard, and North Carolina is unbelievable. I cannot not speak highly of Chapel Hill, and everything about it is unbelievable. North Carolina wanted me back, and I didn’t have a defiant yes or no on whether I needed to stay or go. But being drafted was an opportunity for me to start my pro career.

Tell us about your college recruiting phase?

My college recruiting was not typical. I had planned on going to Iowa Western (Council Bluffs), a junior college and was thrilled about the opportunity to play college baseball. I was a late bloomer and didn’t throw very hard, but was better my senior year. I played in a summer wood bat league (after graduating) and heard from a few colleges. My mom has a friend Rusty who she met years ago and is now a North Carolina fan. He e-mailed the coaches and told them they should look at me. They came and watched me pitch, and I threw the best game I have thrown in my entire life and arrived on campus on July 4. That was a God thing, and I went where I was supposed to go.

You mentioned Little Rock is the closest you’ve been to your family since high school baseball.

From here to my doorstep, it is six and a half hours, and it’s been nice to see some familiar faces. I had about 20 people show up in Springfield and had family from Wichita come to Tulsa. My family and friends have been able to see me play.

Talk about your rise through the minors?

It’s funny because when I went to rookie ball I was terrible. I had a tough time, my arm was dead, and I wasn’t throwing strikes. I met Mark Sappington (right hander in A ball who lives in Peculiar, MO and went to Rockhurst College and drafted same year as Morin) and realized we only live about 30 minutes from one another. Last summer he basically lived at my house, and we worked so hard. Because I was terrible, I figured I would go to High A and my goal was to get to A after the all-star break.

In spring training, I threw well and felt very, very prepared. I even got to pitch in two Big League games, and the first time was against the Kansas City Royals. That was unbelievable. I’ve set small, reasonable and obtainable goals, and my plan keeps progressing. I am very, very happy.

Favorite pitch?

My favorite and best is my changeup. I’ve been successful with it and can throw it at any count. My high school coach showed it to me, but I didn’t use it until after high school.