Two days ago, it was announced that Justin Smoak would be placed on the 15 day DL, and that 1B/OF/DH Logan Morrison would be called up to replace him. During his time in Tacoma, Morrison hit .308/.416/.477 with a .397 wOBA and 137 wRC+ and 3 dingers. He also only struck out 10.4 percent of the time and walked 14.3% of the time. Pretty good.
Before his two games with the M’s and stint with Tacoma, he played in eight games and looked pretty bad. Although it was a very small sample size, he was sporting a .150/.227/.150 triple slash with a .184 wOBA and 8(!!!) wRC+. He had three singles. Upon his second callup, Morrison promptly went 0 for 4 and struck out twice. Even after the game, I thought, he can’t be any worse than what Justin Smoak has been putting up lately. Last night against the Yankees, he verified my thinking. Morrison was one of the only Mariners that seemed to be able to touch Whitley. Aside from him, Brad Miller had a double and single, and Ackley scorched a double that was nearly caught by Gardner. Unfortunately, LoMo’s homer, double, and 2 RBIs weren’t nearly enough to cover for Roenis Elias’ subpar game.
Versus righties, the only competent hitters appear to be Robinson Cano, James Jones, Michael Saunders, and Kyle Seager, and Dustin Ackley. Versus lefties, Gillespie, Cano, Zunino, and Saunders have been the only capable hitters. While Logan Morrison is no slouch versus righties (at least, for this team’s standards) he’s hit the crap out of lefties when healthy. In 2010 and 2011, LoMo had some very encouraging (albeit very different) seasons. In 2010, he played 62 games and had a .283/.390/.447 triple slash, with a .372 wOBA and 129 wRC+. The most sur[rising part was he only had two dingers. In 2011, he played 123 games with a triple slash of .247/.330/.468, and wOBA of .346 and wRC+ of 116. This time around he had 23 dingers in almost exactly twice the games. He was worth a combined 1.7 WAR in those seasons over the course of 185 games. After that, he battled injuries and was largely effective. The Marlins also presumably got fed up with his numerous Twitter antics.
Morrison has the potential to hit 25 dingers annually and get on base at a good rate. Although dingers aren’t indicative of a player’s overall hitting skills, LoMo has great plate discipline – especially for a power hitter – and he could be a doubles machine. He’s not a world beater in the field, in fact he’s pretty “meh” out there. But LoMo does bring a little bit of versatility, however much you value that. There’s a reason the Mariners gave up a Carter Capps for him. There’s actually a couple. One, relievers are extremely volatile and you should always take as much as you can get for them. Second, because the Mariners were lacking in the outfield and Jack Z values dingers (almost definitely too much). And most importantly, because Logan Morrison has a ton of potential as a mainstay in this lineup for years to come.
If LoMo continues to have games like he did last night and Corey Hart comes back and produces, then the Mariners’ forecast will be looking much brighter, and not just because summer is a week or so away. Logan Morrison can’t do it all himself, obviously, but the arrival of Walker, Paxton, and Hart should help the problems in the rotation and lineup. Come July 31st, I expect the Mariners to be in contention and be buyers at the deadline. Until then, welcome back Logan Morrison.