Michael Morse Is Off To A Blazing Start In Seattle
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Sunday, April,07/ 2013
By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
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?
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.
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.
***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 Follow @RJA206
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Posted on April 7, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @MLBreports on twitter, @RJA206 on twitter, aj griffin, AL West, grant balfour, home run leaders, jarrod parker, justin smoak, mariners, mariners baseball, Michael Morse, mlb, mlb hr leaders, morse, Morse mariners, russell branyan, ryan langerhans, sam evans, seattle mariners, washington nationals. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.