Until this month, it had been quite a long time since Miami Marlins fans saw Logan Morrison's name on a lineup card. Following two knee operations in less than a year, Morrison returned to the Fish's lineup on June 9th against the Mets and so far has played a key role in the club's resurgence in the month of June. Even though we're dealing with a small sample size, it's been apparent that having Morrison (along with Giancarlo Stanton) in the lineup on a regular basis has already helped stabilize a club that was one of the worst in baseball over the first two months of the season.
Through ten games, Morrison has posted a slash line of .286/.342/.486 with one home run and five RBI. At this point, we're looking at a bit of a hybrid 2010/2011 LoMo. The 2011 LoMo put up on-base and slugging numbers similar to what we have seen this season, but was also pretty unlucky (.265 BABIP), thus causing his average to dip to .247. In 2010, LoMo was quite a bit "luckier" than the norm (.351 BABIP), which is similar to his BABIP rate through his first ten games of 2013.
What has been perhaps most encouraging about the return of Logan Morrison this season is that power number. Before you even factor the numbers into the equation, just think about this. A hitter doesn't get the majority of his power from their upper half. A hitter generates most of his power from the lower half of their body. Now, try to imagine for a second the kind of havoc two knee operations can wreak on a hitter and the power that they are able to generate from that lower half. Going forward, extra-base hits are going to be a huge indicator of just how far along Morrison has come in his recovery.
This also means that the club will have to keep a close eye on Morrison's playing time as the season wears on, and thankfully manager Mike Redmond has already talked about giving Morrison regularly-scheduled days off in order to ensure that his return to the club is permanent and not just temporary. Additionally, 2013 will mark the first time that Morrison will play the majority of the year at first base, rather than the outfield. We've talked numerous times here at Fish Stripes about the logjam that is the Marlins' outfield and in the case of preserving Morrison's health, this permanent move to first base looks like an even easier decision.
Sure, it's ten games and there are plenty of scenarios that could play out between now and the end of the season that could have his numbers regressing or even worse, nagging injuries and/or setbacks to his recovery. One thing that has been impressive, however, is that the Marlins are 6-4 since the return of LoMo. It may not sound all that impressive, but six wins is nearly 25% of the club's win total this season. With the bevy of struggles and injury problems the Marlins have faced already in 2013, Morrison's bat and perhaps more importantly, his leadership, are going to play huge roles for the remainder of the year. His outspoken nature has gotten him into hot water in the past, but as he mentions to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, he has one primary focus this season:
"If we win games, I'll be happy, and it doesn't really matter what my numbers are. As long as I'm helping the team win, I'm good with it."
It may sound cliche, but the reality is that the Miami Marlins do in fact have a lot better chance of winning baseball games with a healthy Logan Morrison than they do without him. And it's already starting to show.