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What's Going On With Logan Morrison?

Let’s talk about Logan Morrison for a hot minute.

After last night’s 1-for-4 performance against the Yankees, the one they call LoMo is now hitting .113/.214/.177 on 70 plate appearances on the year. Yes, in the grand scheme of things 70 plate appearances is nothing. After all, a player’s fortune and season can change quickly if said player catches fire for a week. In 2016 Morrison started his career with the Rays by going 6-for-60 with a .290 OPS. He would post an .821 OPS the remainder of the season to bring his final stat line to a respectable .238/.319/.414 mark. Consider this, Morrison’s .392 OPS in 2018 is now the lowest mark among all qualified hitters just as his .290 OPS was to start the 2016 season. There is plenty of season left to return to normalcy but that said, Morrison’s tenure in a Twins uniform has the feel of a Black Mirror episode.

Yes, it’s still only April but It has got the makings of a historically bad season. So what is up with LoMo?
Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
During Wednesday night’s Fox Sports North broadcast, Roy Smalley homed in on Morrison’s swing on several occasions during the game. From the side view, Smalley remarked that Morrison’s bat path, which works rearward before coming forward, was long and keeping him from catching up to the Yankees’ velocity. While Morrison may have issues squaring higher velocity this season, Morrison’s swing path is not likely the source of his consternation. For one, it is the same bat path/swing he has employed in the previous season when he jacked 38 home runs and posted a .868 OPS. Second, rearward movement of the barrel happens with all swings – it is just a matter to what degree a hitter rotates the barrel that direction. Even Max Kepler, whose swing Smalley has expressed affinity for, has some degree of loop in his swing.

When you look at Morrison’s peripheral numbers compared to last season, his plate discipline rates are very similar. He is striking out at a similar rate. He is chasing pitches out of the zone at about the same rate. He is making contact at about the same rate. The main difference is that he is swinging more frequently and not making contact on pitches outside of the zone than he did in the past. When you dig deeper, what stands out is his inability to capitalize on fastballs. In 2017, armed with the same swing path as he has this year, LoMo crushed all kinds of fastballs. Last year 21 of his 38 HR were on fastballs. He was crushing heat. This season has been wildly different. He has fouled off a much higher percentage of fastballs (ticking almost 50% of his swings on fastballs). Morrison has put 13 fastballs into play this year and six of those have been infield pop flies. That is significant considering he had just four infield flies on fastballs all of last year. If his overall numbers did not tip you off, this should tell you that something is wrong.

Because of limited video availability, there is not a lot of opportunity to compare Morrison’s swing in 2018 with his swing in 2017. MLBAM does not upload and host side view highlights of players whiffing or lifting pop-ups to second base. FSN, however, was kind enough to provide multiple side view shots. While the camera angles differ slightly (and the low-def quality of my TV combined with the iPhone video capture) may distort the view, what we can discern is that Morrison — compared to last season — is over-striding. This would explain the inability to make solid contact.

Watch Morrison’s lower half as he tries to gain more ground with his front/right leg (L) vs last year ®.


Look how much further apart Morrison’s knees are from each other.

Attached Image: DbrsbQJU8AItbRF.jpg


This has all sorts of implications for his swing and why he is just missing squaring fastballs. His eye level can change with the wider stride. His bat path, while similar to last year, is now angled slightly different. His stride timing, a fraction of a second longer now, is disrupted. It can be a domino effect, really.

Why is Logan Morrison swinging this way? He may be attempting to get into his legs more (as Brian Dozier demonstrated during his MLB Network appearances) in hopes of gaining more power. He appears more squat in his stance this season versus last. As noted above, he is swinging more often, particularly at pitches outside the zone, so he may be trying to force his way out of the early season slump. He may be just trying something new to change things up. He may have no idea that he has made changes.

Where does Morrison go from here? The Twins' middle of the order production has been horrendous so the team clearly needs to get Morrison's bat going and going soon. At this point, Morrison can choose to continue with these mechanics, hoping to refine and perfect the timing of this new, longer stride. Or Morrison and the Twins staff could have the conversation about what made Morrison successful a year ago: his upright and shorter, quicker stride.

I won’t pretend to have the answers on this. Morrison could go either direction and struggle or rip off a month of 15 bombs. That said, if I were in charge of trying to get LoMo going, I would start a dialogue about the change in his mechanics, hoping to spur a rapid recovery.

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38 Comments

Can only go up, but he's doing his best to prove that even inexpensive deals can be bad....

I expect league average DH the rest of the way.

Copyright Mark Grace...he needs a 'Slump Buster'...if you know the term you know the term.I honestly think he is trying to hard.Yogi once said '90% of the game is mental the other half is physical'.He is thinking way too much I bet you would find if you put some truth serum in him.You are one of the new guys and trying to prove yourself can be difficult especially with a start like this. Go up there swing the bat like you know you can. 

    • ken and sftwinsfan like this

I dunno. His bat path may be the same or it may not. But it also might be slower as he ages. All those pop ups and fouls back on fastballs suggest that Smalley is onto something.

    • Doctor Wu likes this
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Tommygun921
Apr 26 2018 10:52 AM
Did Morrison join the Twins after spring training started? Seems about every player that joined late has struggled so far this year. Hopefully he can get things going soon. Twins need him. Especially if they're going to give up a ton of runs.
    • sftwinsfan likes this
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Parker Hageman
Apr 26 2018 10:53 AM

 

I dunno. His bat path may be the same or it may not. But it also might be slower as he ages. All those pop ups and fouls back on fastballs suggest that Smalley is onto something.

 

If he were swinging through more fastballs, I would agree. He's just off on those same fastballs. It's not a bat speed issue. 

Great write up Parker. I'd have to agree, there is just something "off" about his ABs.  

 

I won't even remotely pretend that I can diagnose his swing problems (heck, I struggle with diagnosing my son's swing, and I see his all the time up close and personal), but to the Ocular Diagnostic Recognition Device (or ODRR... hmmm, that seems to match up to something olfactory that I quite can't recall??) he just seems to be pressing at that plate. It's almost as if he is trying to do "to much" and every time it doesn't work out in his favor, another brick is added to the weight on his back. 

 

If you watch the video of his 1st Twins HR, he was celebrating, but a closer look at his body language and mechanics almost seemed to read a panicked "relief" in the dugout.

 

LoMo is a capable major leaguer, and has a proven track record of success at the highest level of baseball. No, he's not a hall of famer, but he has proven that he can play in the majors (define that however makes you happy, I'm not really concerned).  

 

I hope he rights the ship and is able to resume course and make a positive contribution. Agreed, his results haven't matched his ability and I for one am very disheartened (beer helps), but this should only make us rally behind him (and the other players) more and not ready the torches and pyre to burn him at the stake like the witches of old. We should ALL hope for that rather than pointing out reasons that we should think this player or that should fail. 

 

Thus I say, Go forth Logan and may the Angels keep you safe and guide back to the path of happiness and productivity and may you thusly help guide and shepherd the Twins back to the Post Season and past the Gates of Hell known as the Yankees.  

 

Amen

He is older and just not a good hitter anymore. This will become apparent by the end of May that it was a poor choice to sign Morrison. His lack of contact is hitting the team.
    • jun likes this

 

Can only go up, but he's doing his best to prove that even inexpensive deals can be bad....

I expect league average DH the rest of the way.

Though Grossman would be starting at DH without Morrison, and his hitting has been just as putrid as Morrison's.

    • TheLeviathan likes this

Morrison was a textbook regression candidate. I was a little surprised fans were so sold on him.

 

Morrison might finish OK, he might stay the same. We don't know. His signing was a risk all along.

Did you forward this to LoMo, Parker?

Morrison was a textbook regression candidate. I was a little surprised fans were so sold on him.

Morrison might finish OK, he might stay the same. We don't know. His signing was a risk all along.


Even a regressed Morrison is better than the existing alternatives. Not defending the move, just saying a normal year for him is better than any internal option. There risk was fairly low, imo
    • diehardtwinsfan, Oxtung, Taildragger8791 and 1 other like this

 

Morrison was a textbook regression candidate. I was a little surprised fans were so sold on him.

 

Morrison might finish OK, he might stay the same. We don't know. His signing was a risk all along.

Well, even with regression, I don't think anyone thought he was done. Something sorta between the last two years.

    • Mike Sixel, Oxtung and SF Twins Fan like this

Maybe last year was the fluke year, not this year.He had a .245/.325/.416 career line with a 104 OPS+ over his first 7 years in the league.I feel like I drank the kool-aid when they signed him and am now realizing there is no antidote.  

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Andrew Thares
Apr 26 2018 03:02 PM

 

Maybe last year was the fluke year, not this year.He had a .245/.325/.416 career line with a 104 OPS+ over his first 7 years in the league.I feel like I drank the kool-aid when they signed him and am now realizing there is no antidote.  

Even at those numbers he would be worth the $6M that the Twins paid him.

    • SF Twins Fan likes this

Even at those numbers he would be worth the $6M that the Twins paid him.


Would he? Isn't that basically Grossman-level production?

He looks wider with his stance and "lower" as a result.Looks "taller" in his stance in the "last year" shot.  

 

Last year's stride looks more like a "pick up the foot, put the foot down" stride so weight can shift.Yes, he strides toward the pitcher a bit, but it's not a huge, long stride.

 

Everything just looks more exaggerated in the video of this year.

 

Did Morrison join the Twins after spring training started? Seems about every player that joined late has struggled so far this year. Hopefully he can get things going soon. Twins need him. Especially if they're going to give up a ton of runs.

I can't recall exactly when he joined the team, but Morrison put up very impressive numbers during the spring training gamed that he played. Of course, none of that matters now that the regular season is here and he's struggling. He's shown a bit more signs of life this past week, but I doubt he'll come remotely close to matching the numbers he put up in Tampa Bay last year.

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ashburyjohn
Apr 27 2018 07:45 AM

I can't recall exactly when he joined the team

Baseball-reference.com has his signing date as February 28 in case that matters.

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Ebby Calvin Laloosh
Apr 27 2018 08:00 AM

He looks so frustrated up there. It's tough to hit in that state of mind. I would suggest a couple games of going up to bat looking for a walk. That's not an ideal approach for a DH, I know but neither are infield pop flies. Reign in the swinging at bad pitches and look to go 1-2 with a pair of walks every night for a week. It just doesn't look like he is going hit his way out of this slump. I am struggling to see any improvement over the course of the season so far.

I will say it front office tried to improve our DH performance by gettingsome more pop into the lineup but looks like they are striking out also on this deal. If Morrison doesn't turn this around by middle of May and very latest the end of May they may be forced to make a move that they will not like to make. They have Kenny Vargas sitting down in minors wasting playing career that has better numbers than Morrison has been showing in the majors. Also Vargas has never been given a chance like Morrison has been given to prove himself at major league level even when he's not swinging the bat very well. The Twins right now have to many bats that are not productive right now which is one of the causes for this loosing streak. The big question will be if Morrison can turn this around or are the Twins forced to make a move. On paper this was very good move for the Twins but right now if things don't change Twins season could be disappearing quickly. When the Twins reach 40 games they are going to have pretty good idea of their strengths and weaknesses this year again by end of May. If They are going to have successful season they will then need to start making some changes if needed for the club.The glaring weaknesses of this club right now has been Morrison hitting slump, Sano striking out there's no way the twins succeed with his strike out rate, and then the bull pen needs to start cleaning up their mistakes which I am most confident about I think this still could be very good bull pen. Starting pitching I think is going to get better too this is best starting staff the Twins have had in over a decade. I think they are going to get better now with temps increasing and they start getting pitched on regular basis. The problem I see which is a good one is they may have to many starters for all of them to get enough work especially when Santana returns and I believe couple of minor league pitchers should get opportunity by July to pitch too! I hopeful for this team but sometimes teams that look good on paper and have talent never get there for some odd reason and this club could be one of them but by far its way to early to know yet on this team.

Why hasn't Rowson figured this out? That's what he gets paid for....

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KirbyDome89
Apr 27 2018 12:02 PM

 

Even a regressed Morrison is better than the existing alternatives. Not defending the move, just saying a normal year for him is better than any internal option. There risk was fairly low, imo

I'll nitpick and say I still think Vargas could've given the Twins roughly the same type of production Morrison provided in 12'-16'. 

 

That's not a ringing endorsement of Vargas. Morrison wasn't a terrible upside gamble, but the Twins weren't hurting for a LH 1B/DH and there was much more to suggest Morrison's 17' was the exception rather than the norm. I preferred to see the money spent elsewhere. 

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

 

I'll nitpick and say I still think Vargas could've given the Twins roughly the same type of production Morrison provided in 12'-16'. 

 

That's not a ringing endorsement of Vargas. Morrison wasn't a terrible upside gamble, but the Twins weren't hurting for a LH 1B/DH and there was much more to suggest Morrison's 17' was the exception rather than the norm. I preferred to see the money spent elsewhere. 

 

I agree with this....like Carlos Gomez, for example...

    • Thrylos, TheLeviathan and wsnydes like this

I wonder if the fact that he's DHing more is getting in his head. Like a bad at-bat sticks with him longer b/c he can't forget about like he could if he's on the field? 

 

Hopefully the Reds pitching staff can get him back on track.

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TheLeviathan
Apr 27 2018 01:20 PM

The more this year unfolds, the more I wish it had been Gomez and not LoMo.


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