Bearish on Taylor Motter
I'm tellin' ya man. It's not like I ain't tryin'.


From Hey Bill, trying to access his comprehensive understanding of the library of baseball players since (and before!) 1900:


Q:  Is it possible for a questionable "power hitter" to transform himself into a quality "HIT" player by simply deciding to spray the ball and be more selective at the plate?  
Taylor Motter hit a handful of impressive HR's early in 2017 and then got powerflushed out of the league by pitchers who relentlessly went low-away on him.  Now he seems to be making an honest attempt to take outside pitches back up the middle.  
Do many historical examples come to mind of players who found success by "choosing" to hit .300ish rather than to try to yank the ball for 25+ homers?
Asked by: jemanji

Answered: 3/17/2018
A.  The problem is with the phrase "simply".   The general rule is that a hitter is what he is; small, gradual changes in a player's hitting profile are common, but sudden, large ones are extremely rare. If the hitter were to focus on doing this, consistently, over a period of years, it could have some impact on the type of hitter he is and the level of performance, but it is likely that he would also have to make other and subsequent adjustments. - BJOL

A logical answer.  Not to sound sycophantic, but I don't believe there are any other people around who are familiar with every SINGLE player in the baseball almanac, do you?  James once casually mentioned that he is familiar with every major leaguer who ever played.  This is comparable to the 1850's GM Paul Morphy, who seemed to have memorized every important chess game ever played up to that point (as well as the entire Louisiana law code - but he was too young to practice law, so he "wasted" a couple of years tearing the European GM's limb-from-limb).

Which answer may leave us with one last question:  is that who Taylor Motter is -- a pull hitter who occasionally squares one up and (supposing he played full time) hopes to hit 20-25 homers with a .225 average?

 Here is Motter's minors and majors record.  He spent 7 full seasons in the minors, batting .275/.353/.438 which is not inconsistent (given the time spent in the minors) with that of a player who has a fatal ML flaw in his "inherent" game.

 So it could be that Motter deserves less criticism for being too stubborn to learn, and more sympathy for simply lacking the talent to have much impact on the major leagues.

 Or not :- )

Mark Trumbo once remarked on this in an interview:  Of course I'd like to work a .380 OBP.  I've tried to do it.  I just go into a slump when I try it; I've got to attack the ball - I am who I yam.

 Every once in a while, I wonder whether a post like this could cost a guy like Motter with the shot-callers.  Just every once in a while.

Dr D



Last year when Segura was injured, Motter got daily playing time and was a beast.

Then Segura came back and Motters playing time started getting messed with. He moved over and filled in for Seager and Cano, but once his rhythm of playing consistently was broke, it was over.

You can look at the game logs last year. Playing every day he did great. They start moving him, he faded.

If you just go through the game logs, it looks lIke they used him daily at first glance. But, once Segura, Seager and Cano came back, many of Motters appearances were defensive replacements and pinch hitting.

The Mariners jerked him around. When he has gotten consistent starts, kids a beast.

It probably won't be the M's, but whatever team gives Motter an everyday position will be pleasantly surprised, imo.


Maybe the guy can make a change to his swing, but he was getting consistent playing time when he started getting crushed.  He had forced himself into the line-up with April; and from May 6-June 25, Motter started in 75% of team games (36/48 with 6 Def Replacements/PH) and batted .197/.262/.273.  He failed to start for 3 games once over the span, at the end of May when he sat for 4 games after batting .151/.224/.151 while starting 15 of the previous 16 games.  I like the guy too, but he hits into the shift worse than almost any hitter in the majors, AND the guys around him on the list A) hit fewer ground balls than Motter (35-39% vs. Motter's 41.8%), B) have WAY more power than Motter (the 3 of the 4 closest players have career ISOs over .215, the 4th is Albert Pujols), and C) STILL have routinely bad BABiPs (Randall Grichuk has the best at .293, the rest are .275 and lower).

If Motter doesn't massively change his batted ball profile, he's doomed to bad BABiPs, and a player of his type can't afford that.


Concur with mal.

Motter turned into a pumpkin long before he got replaced.


Motter doesn't play any one position well enough and doesn't have the blue chip pedigree to give him consistent playing time whil  he works out the kinks in his bat. His pedigree is as follows: He was a 17th round pick by the Rays. The Mariners acquired him and some other guy for  three scrubs.  He has pedestrian solid minors numbers.  .762 OPS at AA at age 24, and .837 OPS at AAA at age 25.  Both with EYE that sends Dr. D. screaming into the night.  He's not the best defensive catcher or shortstop.  

These sorts of guys don't get the 3000 mlb at bats to make their case that the Justin Smoaks and the Mike Zuninos of the world get.  They play when they get an opportunity and they make the most of it or not.  

I think Motter has a good chance of making $5 million bucks and being an excellent journeyman super sub.  Doc is right that Motter deserves our respect.  He plays hard for us and has no doubt worked like a mad man for every thing that he has achieved.  


Motter fits better in the NL.  

I love verstile utility types, I've been pretty clear about that.  For my money, give me Romine rather than Motter right now.

I'm not confident that there is another, opposite field, Motter hiding inside this one.  I am confident that the can get on a 5 homers in 20 games streak, but I'm even more confident that he follows that up with a relatively long .182 streak.

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