Morse off to “Beastly” Start in his M’s Return


As it stands, the Mariners are 2-2 heading into their weekend series with the White Sox. And that seems like a perfect representation of how they have looked thus far. Some good, some bad.

The good includes two strong  outings from Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, Kyle Seager getting on base 5 times in the 2nd game of the season, and tremendous defense from Brendan Ryan. As for the bad, we can look at two poor pitching performances for Joe Saunders and rookie Brandon Maurer, as well as questionable lineup-making from Eric Wedge.

But the obvious surprise, and a pleasant one at that, is Michael Morse‘s monstrous performance to begin the season.  The righty slugger, who was acquired in a controversial trade that sent John Jaso away, has knocked four round-trippers in his first four games of the year.

April 04, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Michael Morse (38) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

That number is tied for the league league with Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who is having an even better start. Morse is also hitting .375/.412/1.125, with a .656 wOBA. Not that those stats really mean much in such a small sample, but they are exciting nonetheless. He clearly won’t sustain that level, but it is a welcome site to see so much power from a team that has lacked it for so long.

For his career — that being 10 games –Morse holds a 1.077 OPS at the Oakland Coliseum, so it makes sense that he has found success there this year. Plus, Oakland is no hitter’s paradise either, so it makes you worry a little less about him being affected by a pitcher’s park, having been in a hitter’s park in D.C. for the last few years.

I mean, last year the M’s only had one guy hit 4 homers in all of April, and this season, Morse has done it in 1/7 of a month. But seeing as it is way too short of a sample to think anything of it, why am I even talking about it?

Well, its mainly just to emphasize the fact that it is JUST FOUR GAMES. There are bound to be tons of people who supported the Jaso-Morse trade who are going to jump at the opportunity to say “I told you so.” And, believe it or not, there are also people, namely Kyle Davis over at Lookout Landing, have already started admitting they were wrong in wanting Jaso over Morse.

And at some point, both of these parties may have the right to do just that. If Morse keeps hitting the crap out of the ball, then the trade payed off, and a lot of people, including me to a lesser extend, were dead wrong. My opinion wavered on the subject as I saw that Jaso was more valuable last year, plays a better position, etc. But I also liked Morse’s bat more than Jaso, and the fact that he doesn’t need a platoon. I, for the most part, made the choice to just wait and see, which is exactly what we all should be doing right now.

However, I don’t think the bat was the problem. Most people know how good of a hitter Morse was/is. For me, it was the defense–if you can even call it that–as well as the one year contract. But those are also looking up at this point, as Morse has made a couple decent plays, and if he keeps hitting like this, could get another contract and stick around for a couple years.

Just be patient. Four games is a terrible indicator of what is to come. So to all of you told-you-soer’s out there, chill. If Morse keeps it up, you can gloat all you want. And to those who were skeptical, stick to your guns. Don’t be so quit to admit you were wrong and declare Morse the new Miguel Cabrera or something. Because he could just as easily turn out the be the new Miguel Olivo.