A Whole New LoMo
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsCold Start
Morrison’s first opportunity to impress Twins fans didn’t go exactly as planned. In March/April, he hit .145/.253/250 (.503) with five extra-base hits across 22 games. He also posted a 20 to 8 strikeout to walk ratio. Pitchers were taking advantage of plenty of holes in his swing and Morrison’s swing of 2017 couldn’t be found.
When the Twins signed Morrison, there was a lot of talk about his adjustments to his launch angle. During the 2015 season, he posted a 10.8 degree launch angle. He increased that number a little in 2016 with a 12.1 launch angle. However, the 2017 was his true breakout campaign and his launch angle increased to 17.6. This might have been one of the reasons he was able to collect a career-high 38 home runs.
As the calendar turned to May, Morrison’s bat began to heat up along with the weather. Through the team’s last 17 games, LoMo is batting .298/.403/.544 (.947 OPS). He has three home runs and five doubles during that stretch. Also, he’s posted a 13 to 10 strikeout to walk ratio. All of a sudden, pitchers have a small window when pitching to Morrison.
Last season, Morrison barreled up the ball in 12.8% of his batted balls. This season his barrel percentage has dipped to 7.4% but that includes his cold hitting in the season’s first month. His exit velocity (89.3) and launch angle (18.7) are higher than last year’s breakout season. He also ranks 45th in all of baseball in FB/LD rate.
Jekyll and Hyde
So which version of Morrison can fans expect for the rest of the season? The early season version of Morrison was even worse than his career numbers would have indicated. Maybe, he was pressing to try to make an impression on his new team. Maybe, he was trying hard to make other teams regret that they didn’t go after him. Or maybe, just maybe… He’s always been a slow starter.
Throughout his entire big league career, April is his lowest month for OPS, SLG, and walks. On the other hand, May has been one of his best months during his career. He has his second highest monthly totals in OPS and SLG to go along with his highest batting average and OBP.
There’s a lot of baseball left to play and the real LoMo will probably be somewhere between the two versions Twins fans have seen this season.
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