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"Blazing A Trail: Marlins' Morrison mauling AFL"


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Blazing A Trail

 

Marlins' Morrison mauling AFL

 

By Bill Mitchell

November 10, 2008

 

PHOENIX ? At 21, Logan Morrison is one of the youngest participants in the Arizona Fall League. Most players come to the AFL directly from either Double-A or Triple-A, but the Mesa Solar Sox first baseman spent the entire 2008 season with high Class A Jupiter (Marlins) of the Florida State League.

 

Even so, the lefthanded hitter has arguably been the AFL's most productive hitter.

 

Despite missing a week because of a foot injury, Morrison is leading the league with a .446 average and is coming off a 10-game stretch in which he went 21-for-43 and hit for the cycle in one game.

 

Morrison's AFL performance comes after a strong season at Jupiter in which he hit .332/.402/.494 with 38 doubles and 13 home runs in 488 at bats. Even more impressive was his 80/57 K-BB rate, excellent for a young power hitter.

 

The steady improvement this fall is not surprising due to his advanced hitting approach and strong work ethic. Morrison has a plan for how he approaches batting practice and this discipline carries over into his at-bats during the game.

 

Talking to him about hitting is like conversing with a veteran hitting coach.

 

"Batting practice for me is to take line drives the other way early in the rounds and work on that contact point deep," Morrison said, "and later in the rounds work on getting the head out a little bit."

 

Morrison's persistence and grinder mentality deserve the most credit for his continual improvement in the AFL.

 

"I'm grinding it out and not giving up ABs," said Morrison. "If you're 4-for-4, (I'm) wanting to go 5-for-5 and not just cashing it in and saying, OK, I've already got my hits for today.' If you do that, then you're not going to learn, and I feel like every at-bat you take is a learning process."

 

His disciplined approach is not lost on others.

 

"He's a worker," Solar Sox manager Rocket Wheeler (Braves) said. "He works his butt off in the weight room to get stronger and to stay strong. He's an animal ? he's all out ? he's max effort ? he is preparing himself for what he's got to do next year."

 

Morrison has had some good role models during his baseball career.

 

While growing up in the Kansas City area, his favorite player was George Brett, who he admired for the way the Royals Hall of Fame third baseman played the game with heart and intensity. As a youth, Morrison took hitting lessons from another former Royal, Kevin Seitzer, recently named Kansas City's major league hitting coach.

 

He credits Seitzer for the foundation of his game. He's now getting the opportunity to work with Solar Sox hitting coach Ryne Sandberg.

 

"He's been there, done that," Morrison said. "Anything I can learn from him is definitely gravy. I appreciate the fact that he's out here. He's a great teacher ? he wants to help and to give back. I appreciate that a lot."

 

Sandberg has also been helping Morrison with his infield defense, getting him on the balls of his feet for added mobility when fielding the ball instead of on his heels.

 

Morrison recently played a few games in left field, primarily to give him a little more versatility as he moves through the Florida organization. He rolled his eyes when asked about the outfield experiment, but admitted that he's athletic enough to play there if that's what the future holds.

 

"I never played left," Morrison said. "It's definitely a learning experience. I need reps and I need a lot of them."

 

Regardless of where he plays in the field, it's the bat that's going to take him to the big leagues. Wheeler projects Morrison to be a 25 to 30 home run man.

 

"When he hits the ball, he hits it hard," Wheeler said. "The ball jumps off of it with a different sound and he can hit it a long way. He's got a pretty good approach at the plate."

 

"He's had a lot of success out here," Wheeler added.

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Morrison recently played a few games in left field, primarily to give him a little more versatility as he moves through the Florida organization. He rolled his eyes when asked about the outfield experiment, but admitted that he's athletic enough to play there if that's what the future holds.

 

"I never played left," Morrison said. "It's definitely a learning experience. I need reps and I need a lot of them."

Suck it up. You help out the organization immensely if you can handle LF sometime in 2010.

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Morrison recently played a few games in left field, primarily to give him a little more versatility as he moves through the Florida organization. He rolled his eyes when asked about the outfield experiment, but admitted that he's athletic enough to play there if that's what the future holds.

 

"I never played left," Morrison said. "It's definitely a learning experience. I need reps and I need a lot of them."

Suck it up. You help out the organization immensely if you can handle LF sometime in 2010.

 

In 2010?

 

If this team isn't competing at mid-season, and Jeremy Hermida is not performing or Cody Ross is over-performing... One of them are dealt. And Logan Morrison is in the big show. At least, that's how I see it playing out. I think that's got to be a part of the reason he's starting to make a transition out there...

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Morrison recently played a few games in left field, primarily to give him a little more versatility as he moves through the Florida organization. He rolled his eyes when asked about the outfield experiment, but admitted that he's athletic enough to play there if that's what the future holds.

 

"I never played left," Morrison said. "It's definitely a learning experience. I need reps and I need a lot of them."

Suck it up. You help out the organization immensely if you can handle LF sometime in 2010.

 

In 2010?

 

If this team isn't competing at mid-season, and Jeremy Hermida is not performing or Cody Ross is over-performing... One of them are dealt. And Logan Morrison is in the big show. At least, that's how I see it playing out. I think that's got to be a part of the reason he's starting to make a transition out there...

Yes. Sometime, which means not April, in 2010, at the absolute earliest. We have no need to rush him with Gaby, and especially Maybin, Hermida, (Ross), Raynor, Cousins, and Petersen all ahead of him in the OF ranks of this organization.

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That argument could be credible. Miguel Cabrera was considered a beast in this organization and around his 20th Bday he was called up. I think this largely depends on his performance in ST and if he rises to AA. In that scenario, it is incredibly realistic that he could be called up to the bigs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Morrison recently played a few games in left field, primarily to give him a little more versatility as he moves through the Florida organization. He rolled his eyes when asked about the outfield experiment, but admitted that he's athletic enough to play there if that's what the future holds.

 

"I never played left," Morrison said. "It's definitely a learning experience. I need reps and I need a lot of them."

Suck it up. You help out the organization immensely if you can handle LF sometime in 2010.

 

In 2010?

 

If this team isn't competing at mid-season, and Jeremy Hermida is not performing or Cody Ross is over-performing... One of them are dealt. And Logan Morrison is in the big show. At least, that's how I see it playing out. I think that's got to be a part of the reason he's starting to make a transition out there...

Yes. Sometime, which means not April, in 2010, at the absolute earliest. We have no need to rush him with Gaby, and especially Maybin, Hermida, (Ross), Raynor, Cousins, and Petersen all ahead of him in the OF ranks of this organization.

 

Those players may be ahead of Morrison in terms of minor-league level, but certainly not ahead of him in terms of this organizations future. If we had a hole to fill in left field this July, and Morrison is tearing apart double-A, you can bet your ass he's going to be in the majors, not Raynor or Cousins or Peterson.

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A lot of factors go into that, starting with how well 'RCP' (and we can include Carroll and Jai since they are on the 40 man) are hitting in the minors and if Logan is playing a legitimate LF. And that's if he is playing in LF in the minors and he isn't Jacksonville's everyday 1B. It's a longshot even if he is the best prospect of the group. A lot of guys are going to have to suck in front of him, and he's going to have to be balls awesome right away in AA, for that to happen.

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