Potential Player of Interest: Logan Morrison | The Process Report

Potential Player of Interest: Logan Morrison

The Marlins’ latest rebuilding efforts ensures two things. One, Jeffrey Loria will remain the league’s most disliked owner. Two, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison will become rosterbation obsessions for every other team’s fan base. Early indications have Stanton remaining in South Beach with Morrison potentially on the move. Expect to see the Rays suggested as a potential Morrison landing spot, if only because that seems to be the case whenever a youngish hitter with past success is available.

The knock on Morrison during his formative years was lacking power potential. Rather than smoking the ball over the fences, Morrison relied on his excellent pitch recognition, plate coverage, and bat-to-ball skills to spray liners around the park. Those concerns about his power came to the forefront in 2010 after he hit two home runs in his first 287 big-league plate appearances. The next year Morrison hit 23 home runs, raising eyebrows. Morrison’s increased power ostensibly stemmed from a change in philosophy. He began pulling the ball more during the season and traded average for pop, a trade that remained in place in 2012 despite worse results:

Logan Morrison’s Batted Balls by Direction, 2010-12

Season Pulled% Middle% Oppo-Field%
2010 23% 58% 19%
2011 33% 55% 12%
2012 31% 53% 16%

Everything went awry for Morrison in 2011 right around the time when the Marlins fired hitting coach John Mallee. Morrison had credited Mallee for his swing. He showed outward displeasure about the firing, and many chalked up his subsequent demotion as punishment for public dissension. Morrison has struggled to regain form since the Mallee firing, but it’s hard to discern what percentage is due to a lost mentor and what is due to knee issues.

Teams pursuing Morrison have to know what they want out of him. Is he a first baseman or an outfielder, a slugger or a contact-and-walks guy? Having a clear plan for Morrison could help him return to productive status. The Rays seem like a fit for obvious reasons—need, Joe Maddon’s embrace of idiosyncratic behavior, and so on. The only thing left in doubt is whether the Rays would pay the price tag.

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