Michael Morse Is Off To A Blazing Start In Seattle

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Sunday, April,07/ 2013

How good has Mike Morse's start been for the Mariners...Try a 3 Slash Line of .333//364/1.268  so far, and is tied for the MLB lead in HRs with 4 bombs.  "Da Beast" has proven that he can get the job when he stays in the lineup.  If he can hit like this all year, Seattle may have a chance at the Post Season.

How good has Mike Morse’s start been for the Mariners…Try a 3 Slash Line of .333//364/1.268 so far, and is tied for the MLB lead in HRs with 4 bombs. “Da Beast” has proven that he can get the job when he stays in the lineup. If he can hit like this all year, Seattle may have a chance at the Post Season.

By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): 

When the Mariners acquired Michael Morse this past offseason, they were hoping to add some power and a veteran presence to a young lineup. Morse, who struggled in 102 games playing for the Nationals in 2012, appears to finally be healthy and ready to contribute.

Morse has gotten off to a hot start to the season, homering in 4 of his first five games. In 2011, when he hit 31 HR, it took Morse until May 25th to hit his 4th Home Run. This poses the question, could Michael Morse hit 30 Home Runs again in 2013?

Michael Morse 2011 Highlights

Micheal Morse had his best year in 2011 with the Nationals, where  he hit .303, with 31 HRs and 95 RBI during his  515 AB.

Micheal Morse had his best year in 2011 with the Nationals, where he hit .303, with 31 HRs and 95 RBI during his 515 AB.

Just a few months ago, in January, Michael Morse came over to Seattle in a three-way trade with Washington and Oakland. The Mariners had to give up debatably their best hitter from the previous season, John Jaso, in order to acquire Morse.

There were very mixed feelings about this trade from the Mariners fanbase. Morse had played 107 games for Seattle from 2005-2009 and had mostly been seen as an AAAA guy or a bench player. However, Morse proved in Washington that he can be much more than that if given the opportunity.

If everything goes right, Michael Morse will prove to Seattle just how valuable his bat can be in the middle of the Mariners lineup. However, there definitely is a chance that Morse struggles to hit like the rest of the Mariners lineup, while John Jaso steals the spotlight in Oakland.

This was a very important trade for the Mariners and for General Manager Jack Zduriencik. Michael Morse will need to return to his 2011 self in order for the Mariners to “win” the trade.

Michael Morse’s first Home Run of the season came in the third inning of an April 2nd game against Jarrod Parker and the Athletics. With runners on first and third, Morse got a 2-2 93 MPH fastball on the outside corner, which he hit 351 feet to Right Field.

Later that game, Morse hit a 1-2 94 MPH fastball from Grant Balfour 447 feet to Center Field. Morse’s third bomb of the early 2013 regular season came on the 3rd off of Tommy Milone. Milone made the mistake of throwing his 86 MPH fastball up in the zone and Morse made him pay.

Finally, the very next day, Morse saw a 1-1 fastball from A.J. Griffin and Morse muscled it into the Left Field bleachers. So far, Michael Morse has hit all of his Home Runs off of fastballs. This is one cause for concern, as pitchers will likely pick up on this trend and change their approach sooner rather than later.

Russell Branyan had raw power and was never given a chance to play full time despite ranking 6th amongst Active players in HRs per AB with a HR for every 15.16 AB.  He was the last Mariners player to crank 30 HRs, and is Career completely resembles similar to Morse's

Russell Branyan had raw power and was never given a chance to play full time despite ranking 6th amongst Active players in HRs per AB – with a HR for every 15.16 AB. He was the last Mariners player to crank 30 HRs, and his Career completely resembles similar to Morse’s.

The Seattle Mariners haven’t had a player hit 30 HR since Russell Branyan hit 31 in 2009. Part of that is because of the terrible lineups that have been assembled in those recent years in Mariners history, but a lot of the credit for keeping the M’s HR totals low goes to Safeco Field. In the past,

Safeco Field has been one of the best Major League ballparks to pitch in. In a daring move, the Mariners Front Office decided to sway from their previous philosophy based completely around pitching and defense, and they moved in the fences at Safeco Field.

Only time will tell as to how much of an effect this has on Mariners hitters, but for a right-handed slugger like Morse, it could potentially have a profound effect on his home run statistics.

Bill James, ZiPS, and Oliver all project Michael Morse to hit less than 25 Home Runs in 2013. However, if they knew that Morse already had four in his first five games, those projections might look a little bit different.

It seems much more reasonable to project Morse to hit closer to 30 Home Runs  in 2013, considering what he has already done. As long as Michael Morse stays healthy, he could become a player worth 3+ WAR in 2013, just as he was in 2011.

Michael Morse is a critical key to the Mariners success in 2013, and if he can keep hitting the way he has, Morse could lead the Mariners back to .500 for the first time since 2009.

Michael Morse #38 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by Justin Smoak #17 after Morse hit a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning at O.co Coliseum on April 3, 2013 in Oakland, California.  Morse hit 4 HRs in the 4 games series split between the Athletics and Mariners.  Morse carries a 3 Slash Line of .295/348/.847

Michael Morse #38 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by Justin Smoak #17 after Morse hit a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning at O.co Coliseum on April 3, 2013 in Oakland, California. Morse hit 4 HRs in the 4 games series split between the Athletics and Mariners. Morse carries a 3 Slash Line of .295/348/.847.  Morse also hit for a .302/.365/.765 mark with Seattle in his first stint with the organization from 2005 – 2009 – before he was traded to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Langerhans.

***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***

Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter  

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About samevans87

I love writing, talking, watching, and playing baseball. I am a baseball writer for MLB Reports and Fish Stripes. "No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." -Paul Gallic

Posted on April 7, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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