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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bill Madden: Michael Morse’s value jolted by power outage

Polishing off his latest Joyce Ballantyne blast, Madden offers up…

It is a profound testimony to how thinly spread quality talent has become in baseball — particularly middle-of-the-order power hitters — that all of sudden the most sought-after player this winter is Michael Morse, the hulking, injury-prone, defensively challenged 30-year-old Washington Nationals slugger whose propensity for striking out far exceeds his willingness to take a walk.

...There is no question Morse is a legitimate power hitter, but as with so many power hitters today, with the home runs you have to live with the strikeouts. They’re a little easier to live with if you’re, say, Adam Dunn, whose major league-leading 222 strikeouts last season were at least offset somewhat by his 105 walks, which also led the majors. In Morse’s case, however, he walked only 16 times last year, as opposed to striking out 97 times, for a 6.1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio that was the worst in the majors for players with 400 or more plate appearances, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

“With each passing year, the hardest thing to find in the high schools and colleges are middle-of-the-order power hitters with plate discipline,” said one longtime amateur scout for an American League team. “Just look around the majors. How many big-time power hitters do you see coming out of any organization? It’s hard enough to find guys with 35-homer power, but so many times when you do, they turn out to be Justin Smoak/Bryan LaHair types with big holes in their swings who can’t cut it in the big leagues.”

Repoz Posted: January 12, 2013 at 09:29 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4345914)
I'd like to introduce you to Giancarlo Stanton. Also Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, CarGo, J Upton, Wilin Rosario, Heyward, Viciedo. Hell, Asdrubal Cabrera just hit 25 HR in his age 25 season.

Over the last 3 seasons, 25+ HR by age:

35-39: 10
30-34: 47
25-29: 63
20-24: 10

So one out of 13 seasons

Now from 1998-00:

35-39: 18
30-34: 68
25-29: 75
20-24: 22

So one out of about every 8.5 seasons.

As to "35 HR power" there have been only 23 such seasons in the last three years and only 5 guys have done it twice, nobody three times. Nobody has 35 HR power these days. Surely everybody learned from Bautista -- you push 50 and the roid rumors start.

I'll spot you Pujols, Dunn, Cabrera and Bautista. Name the 5th.
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4345916)
I'll spot you Pujols, Dunn, Cabrera and Bautista. Name the 5th.

Granderson?
   3. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: January 12, 2013 at 10:05 PM (#4345918)
If it's who I think it is, he's had over 40 each of the last two years.

EDIT: Fizzy drink to CP
   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4345970)
Yep. I didn't expect it to be too hard but it would have taken me a few guesses.

On the actual topic, I'll believe Morse is in high demand when he brings a high return in trade. At the moment, he's a slightly above-average, 31-year-old slated to make $6.5 M next year then an FA. That's a nice piece to have but he's not bringing back a lot.
   5. Cowboy Popup Posted: January 12, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4345972)
Yep. I didn't expect it to be too hard but it would have taken me a few guesses.

Well, it's an article about HRs, walks, strike outs and holes in hitters' swings. It's hard to be a Yankee fan and not have Granderson immediately come to mind in that context.
   6. TerpNats Posted: January 13, 2013 at 06:50 AM (#4346044)
I'll believe Morse is in high demand when he brings a high return in trade. At the moment, he's a slightly above-average, 31-year-old slated to make $6.5 M next year then an FA. That's a nice piece to have but he's not bringing back a lot.
I'm sure Rizzo is aware of the inevitable backlash that will result from a Morse trade -- not just that he's gone from the Nats, but "that's all you got for him?" Nevertheless, it won't deter him.
   7. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4346178)
Surely everybody learned from Bautista -- you push 50 and the roid rumors start.


That's why it's important to throw in an injury-shortened season once in a while. Keeps the counting stats from looking too gaudy. Too bad Sammy Sosa didn't tyhink of this.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4346358)
I'm sure Rizzo is aware of the inevitable backlash that will result from a Morse trade

Huh? The general reaction to a Morse trade will be "who's Morse?"

There hasn't been a single GM in the history of baseball who was deterred from trading a player like Mike Morse due to fear of backlash. It's like trading Glenallen Hill.

That's why it's important to throw in an injury-shortened season once in a while. Keeps the counting stats from looking too gaudy. Too bad Sammy Sosa didn't tyhink of this.

Silly Sammy did it in reverse, hence all the "never hit more than 40 then suddenly..." silliness.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: January 13, 2013 at 08:07 PM (#4346480)
There hasn't been a single GM in the history of baseball who was deterred from trading a player like Mike Morse due to fear of backlash. It's like trading Glenallen Hill.
Morse is extremely popular with the fans.
   10. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: January 13, 2013 at 08:48 PM (#4346486)
Huh? The general reaction to a Morse trade will be "who's Morse?"


This is ignorance - Nats fans think he's Ryan Braun.
   11. boteman Posted: January 13, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4346491)
I was going to pipe up earlier that Morse has a fairly substantial draw to put butts in seats.

I don't know how many Nats home games you caught on the radio in 2012, Walt, but Morse's walk up music was (curiously) Take On Me by the Norwegian 1980s band A-Ha. Morse was probably 2 years old when that song (and its really cool music video) broke big in the States. But the fans loved it. The house would play the song up to a certain point in the chorus, then a considerable block of fans in the stands would sing the remainder of the chorus. It got to be a "thing". Regardless of his K/BB ratio, it's tough to replace something like that among the fan base. Silly, yes, but fun. I agree that scoring runs and winning games counts for a heck of a lot more, but when things aren't going well the silly stuff can carry the fans through to better times.

Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit.
   12. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4346495)
Morse draws about 2 extra fans in a game and that is only when his mother and girlfriend are in town. If Morse is traded and the Nats continue to win I'm sure the fans will be happy to play Take on Me when Morse comes up for a third time.
   13. cmd600 Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4346504)
The line about his strikeout to walk ratio really bugs me. Its not according to Elias anymore than it is to b ref or espn or some 12 year old in DC who reads every boxscore every morning. And I think this is part of where the anti-WAR sentiment comes from. Writers think stats are some proprietary info to Elias, and have to be referenced and anything not directly from Elias may as well be heresy.
   14. boteman Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4347532)
Years 2004-2012:
PA   K   BB   K/BB %
258  50  18   2.78
48   7   3    2.33
20   4   1    4.00
11   4   1    4.00
55   16  3    5.33
293  64  22   2.91
575  126 36   3.50
430  97  16   6.06 


If you exclude 2005-2008, his K/BB ratio has been getting progressively worse.

For the record, I think Morse has no business on a National League team as long as the DH rule is in effect in the AL. He moves like a pregnant yak, so getting to balls hit to left field is suboptimal for him. If he can't redeem himself with the bat, the Nats have no good starting spot for him.
   15. smileyy Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4347567)
Does K/BB ratio actually matter as a first-order stat? Or is it simply an aggregation that lets us talk easily about two important components of hitting in one number?

I mean, the two are in tension in terms of OBP, but a 200-strikeout/100-walk guy is a different beast than a 20-strikeout/10-walk guy. I'd probably rather have the former, because the latter is going to have to be really hit-lucky to maintain value.

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