Logan Morrison isn’t capable of producing the same type of offensive fireworks as Giancarlo Stanton. The 24-year-old “LoMo” doesn’t have his teammate’s light-tower power. But he can go yard. His left-handed stroke produced 23 long balls last year and his slugging percentage was a solid .468. Swinging for the fences simply isn’t his modus operandi.
Morrison doesn’t fashion himself a home-run hitter. The Miami Marlins first baseman goes up to the plate with an opposite-field line-drive approach that helped him post strong OBP numbers in the minor leagues and in his 2010 rookie season. Since then, his results have been mixed.
Two-plus seasons into his Marlins career, Morrison is seemingly caught in between. Hitting in the middle of Ozzie Guillen’s order, neither his on-base nor his slugging numbers are up to snuff. With the All-Star break looming, he has 10 home runs and a .242/.317/.433 slash line.
Morrison is capable of much more, but first he has to find himself. When he does, will he be a middle-of-the-order run producer? Or will he be more of a batting average-OBP guy? Could he be both?
Morrison talked about his approach when the Marlins visited Fenway Park in June.
Logan Morrison on hitting: “I’ve pretty much tried to keep the same approach my whole life. Growing up, my dad was big into the art of hitting. It was Charlie Lau, then Tony Gwynn and reading his book. That turned into me going to Kevin Seitzer and getting lessons from him. He was always up the middle and the other way.
“I’ve also worked on learning how to pull the ball and when to pull the ball. That’s something I’ve tried to develop, but right now I’m trying to get back to up-the-middle and the other way. My approach has always been up-the-middle and the other way, but whether it’s timing — my contact point — I’m pulling a lot of balls this year. That’s OK with me as long as I’m getting hits, but I’m not getting enough hits.
“I was pulling the ball last year too, but not to the extreme that I am now. Why? It could be the pitching.“When I first came up, everything was away from me and I could go the other way at will. That was playing to my strength, but they caught on and started pounding me in, pounding me in, pounding me in. I made an adjustment to pull more balls, to get the head out and make contact farther out in front of me. My power numbers went up, but now I’m needing to make more adjustments.
“I don’t think my swing changes when I’m [pulling the ball more]. I’m just catching it out front instead of backing it up more. I feel it’s the same swing. There might be a little mechanical flaw here and there, but I feel it’s the same swing.
“When I’m going through struggles, I definitely crush the video room. If I’m getting hits and doing well, I try to stay away from video. It’s one of those things where I don’t want to overanalyze things. If I’m getting hits, I’m getting hits. But if I’m not getting hits — if I’m not making good contact — I want to see what’s going on. I want to see what my hands are doing, what my setup is like, how my legs are spacing. Things like that.
“What I’m looking for at the plate depends a lot on the pitcher. If it’s somebody who is going to spot up, you don’t want to look middle because he’s not going to miss middle very often. If you have a guy who swings hard and doesn’t really know where it’s going, you look middle. That’s maybe the only spot he can hit.
“For the most part, I look middle-away. That gives me three quarters of the plate to cover. I give the pitcher the outside corner and the inside corner.
“If you get a pitch that’s not in the zone you’re looking in, you usually don’t want to offer at it. If you’re looking middle-away, and it’s in, let it go. If you swing at it, more than likely it’s not going to be a good swing.
“Last year, in Sun Life, we had a short porch in left field, so it was a lot easier to go opposite field. You could get under one and hit it off the wall. Now, at our new park, it’s a lot deeper and you have to crush balls that way. I have to be more selective on pitches away, because if I hit it the air, it will probably be caught by the left fielder. The ballpark doesn’t really affect my swing, but it does affect my approach. ”
Coming tomorrow: An interview with Giancarlo Stanton
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