Q. What is the Exec Sum here?
A. Logan Morrison has been hitting lots of fly balls to center field.
The conventional wisdom had been that LoMo had simply been unlucky. And, yeah, he had 1 hit on 10 balls in play over 100 MPH. Lot of well-stroked fly balls to center, in particular.
But in the Apr. 29 Shout Box, Matty wrote us a dissertation on Morrison's balls in play. Not that we want to /cosign on 12 straight shouts ;- ) -- that's what comments and articles are for -- but he was spot on. Here is the scatterchart he rooted up on Fangraphs (clickable link for the image):
Notice all the purple dots? Those have hang times of 5* seconds or more. The average American League center fielder can run from SoDo to Southcenter Mall in five seconds. (I'd be interested to know how many purple dots are hits. 1%?)
The magenta dots are also in the air for a while. T-Mobile gets pretty good ground coverage, too.
Great catch Matt. You should get a premium blog. I'd be in.
Q. Ted Williams said it's good to hit the ball up the middle, especially when you're slumping.
A. It's a transition phase only. Liners up the middle, for a slow player, are a waystation. SLUMP --- > SINGLES --- > XBH.
Morrison isn't going to be finding a lot of grass when he hits the ball right up the middle. Here, check out his 2012 home run landing chart, courtesy of ESPN HR Tracker:
In the last three years, 2012, 2013, and 2014, Logan Morrison has hit only 5 balls out of the park to that 2/3 of the field. Most players have to pull the ball to get the ball out, and Morrison is certainly one of them. It's pretty to watch a hard fly ball right back over the pitcher's head -- but it's an out.
Q. Must be bad luck, though. BABIP says that 30% of all batted balls go through for hits.
A. That's not a law of physics.
.300 is what happens when world-class baseball hitters, IN FORM, hit balls at world-class fielders, IN FORM. The ocean covers 70% of the earth, and the eight defensive players can cover 70% of the batted balls hit by a good MLB player.
You or I would BABIP .100 in the majors, if we ever hit the ball. A player in a slump can BABIP way below .300. The BABIP can hit .200 and stay there and that's, like, when it's time to retire.
That said, Morrison has had a lot of bad luck too. A 41 OPS+ is what you get when a 80 OPS+ hitter is unlucky.
Q. What's the technical cause of so many skied fly balls to center field?
A. Also known as Chris Young's Reason For Living.
Young takes hitters up the ladder with a deceptively-fast "heater." They are just a tick behind it, since they're surprised. And because they're surprised, they consistently miss the spot they are aiming at, just low enough on the ball that it gets some extra air. It's a sucker pitch.
And that's been Morrison's game -- just a tad late on the ball, just a tad low on what he's aiming at.
Q. With what cause?
A. Either Morrison isn't quite sharp yet, or the shift is getting into his head.
Either way, Dr. D has a lot of interest in Jesus Montero. Or moving Ackley to first base. It ain't like Logan Morrison was ever a blue-chip prospect with Bryce Harper upside, right? If things break right for Morrison he's a 120 OPS+ first baseman. Who isn't?
And with that, we'll cheerfully look forward to Morrison's May rampage making us look like idiots again.