Last night at Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison stepped to the plate against Oakland Athletics reliever Dan Otero. It was the bottom of the eleventh inning, and the score had been locked at 3-3 for four full frames. The M’s have had nasty luck lately with one-run and extra-inning games, and it was so recently that LoMo looked lost at the plate. It’s fine if you weren’t expecting a walk-off home run. Nobody was.
Except that’s what Morrison delivered, sending Otero’s first and only pitch into the seats behind the center field fence. The pitch wasn’t that bad – a sinker meant for the lower outside corner that hung up juuuuuust a little bit. But Morrison hit a screamer, and just like that, the Mariners were winners.
With one pitch, Morrison gave us the new high-water mark for his season. His line, which was once a paltry sub-Mendoza mess with no difference between the average and the slugging, now sits at .245/.294/.440 – still not where you’d want it to be, of course, but actually good for an above-average 105 wRC+. Considering his April – a 39 wRC+ and rumors of an impending Carlos Quentin platoon – it’s quite the turnaround, and rather quickly.
How did he do it? Basically, he’s been out of his mind through May’s first week. LoMo’s triple slash since May 1st is .385/.448/1.000. Over those 29 plate appearances he’s hit four home runs, including last night’s game-winner.
It’s nice to see LoMo coming around, if only because when is it not nice to see a player cease his struggles? But we all remember where Morrison was at the end of last year. With LoMo, there have been convincing hints in the past that he can be a good first baseman. After a month of being awful it’s taken him all of one week to get his season line up to the “respectable” level. That’s something.
While it’s clear Morrison isn’t as bad as his April made him look, it should be clear that he’s not May good, either. In the past his true talent level has appeared to be somewhere similar to where his 2015 season stats currently sit – average-ish bat, bad defense at first. What we want is for him to be something more than this.
This hot streak isn’t necessarily over, of course. The last pitch he saw turned into a walk-off home run! Maybe we’ll get to see him settle in at an exciting level, or maybe he turns cold again. The fun of baseball is we don’t know and literally nobody knows and nobody can know. It’s all about waiting to see.
Logan Morrison has, for the last week, been Nelson Cruz. He’s hitting everything, and hitting it hard, and the results have been eye-opening. He doesn’t need to keep this up to be successful – he just has to keep as much of this spark as possible. The hits are dropping. Now they just need to drop more than one week out of every five.
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