The Miami Marlins were expecting more from first baseman Logan Morrison, who was supposed to be one of the more advanced bats on the 2013 roster. The Fish needed Morrison to help anchor the offense alongside Giancarlo Stanton, given that the rest of the team was a series of prospects, veteran journeyman, and minor league filler. Unfortunately for Miami, Morrison hit more like the latter rather than a top hitter in a desperate lineup.
Last season, Morrison played the first half of the year before succumbing to complications owing to his offseason knee surgery. His patellar tendon surgery had to be redone more thoroughly, and the lingering effects of the late surgery likely affected him for most of his 2012 playing time. In 2013, he had no such injury excuse. While Morrison missed time until early June while recovering from his second surgery, he was not tasked nearly as badly. The surgery he underwent was a more complete job, and he was given plenty of recovery time thanks to him committing early to going under the knife. When he returned to the lineup, the Marlins did not ask him to play left field as they had in the last few seasons, but rather moved him back to his natural position at first base.
Despite all the reasons for a better 2013 year, Morrison struggled for a second straight season. The first baseman hit a paltry .242/.333/.375 (.312 wOBA), just barely better than what he batted in an injury-plagued 2012 year. While last season saw Morrison's walk rate dip to a career-low 9.3 percent, the problem this season had to do with a lack of power. Morrison hit just six homers this year, the lowest number he has hit since he became a regular starter in 2011. He was failing to muscle up on pitches, having hit grounders on 47.7 percent of his balls in play, a figure that is up from a 41.0 percent mark from last year and a career 46.1 percent mark. His doubles and triples were also down slightly from career marks, but most of his struggles and resulting .133 ISO came from the lack of home runs.
It is difficult to say why Morrison was having trouble squaring up on the ball. He was one of the voices from the Marlins clubhouse that complained about Marlins Park's dimensions, and the numbers showed that he did struggle at home versus on the road in 2013. However, he was also even on home/road splits in 2012, and his 2013 road batting line of .236/.344.400 (.321 wOBA) was not exactly inspiring either. At some point, we may have to believe that Logan Morrison is what he is.
Morrison's offensive struggles were compounded by questionable defensive play. By the eyes, he looked lead-footed and slow at reacting at first base, and the numbers tended to agree with that assessment. The various defensive metrics have him rated between seven runs below average to four runs above average, with more negative assessments than positive ones. It is very likely that the knee injuries have sapped the meager athleticism and instincts that he had at first when he was a prospect. It is perfectly possible that the Fish ruined Morrison defensively as well with their left field experiment.
Logan Morrison is very likely to return to Miami in 2014, but the team is running out of time in evaluating him. The last two injury-shortened seasons have shown the Fish nothing to be excited about, and the latest year in particular was a major disappointment.