Player Prophet: Logan Morrison vs. James Loney

Logan Morrison has a lot of potential, but how good can he be?  Let’s look at his underlying statistics compared to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ James Loney to see if there are any conclusions we can drew:

Double-A (Age 21):

Statistics
James Loney (2005) – .284 (143-504), 11 HR, 65 RBI, 74 R, 87 K, 59 BB
Logan Morrison (2009) – .277 (77-278), 8 HR, 47 RBI, 48 R, 46 K, 63 BB

Metrics
Loney – 40.0% FB%, 17.0% LD%, .330 BABIP, .361 OBP, .425 SLG
Morrison – 28.6% FB%, 19.8% LD%, .305 BABIP, .414 OBP, .436 SLG

Triple-A (Age 22):

Statistics
James Loney (2006) – .380 (139-366), 8 HR, 67 RBI, 64 R, 34 K, 32 BB
Logan Morrison (2010) – .307 (73-238), 6 HR, 45 RBI, 36 R, 35 K, 48 BB

Metrics
Loney – 35.2% FB%, 25.1% LD%, .404 BABIP, .426 OBP, .546 SLG
Morrison – 35.9% FB%, 13.6% LD%, .340 BABIP, .427 OBP, .487 SLG

Other Notes:

  • Both hit left-handed
  • Morrison is listed at 6’4″, 245 lbs; Loney is listed at 6’3″, 200 lbs.
  • Loney got a chance to play in the Major Leagues in 2006, but was returned to Triple-A in 2007 (but would return to the Majors for good later in ’07)

Thoughts:

This is not the most exact comparison for a few reasons:

  • Loney actually spent two years at Double-A, the one listed above being the second of them.
  • Loney showed more extra base ability in the minor leagues, having 64 doubles over the two seasons listed above.  Morrison had just 35.  That can partially be explained in their line drive rates, especially in their Triple-A seasons.
  • Morrison appears to have a better eye at the plate, walking more then he struck out at both levels.

I think the doubles discrepancy is the most important one to note.  With his ability to hit doubles, many people speculated that as he grew older, Loney would gain power and elevation, leading to more home runs.  He further deceived everyone when he reached the Major Leagues in 2007, hitting 15 HR in 344 AB.  It was a mirage, however, as the power has never come close to that in the following years.

I fear that Morrison could go down a similar path.  The problem is, he also hasn’t shown the same type of line drive rate or extra base ability in the upper levels of the minor leagues.  It’s easy to point to his 24 HR at Single-A, but he hasn’t come close to that since being promoted.

You love to see his eye, which could make him the perfect #2 hitter in the Marlins order (which is where he currently is hitting).  It should allow him to hit for a good average and, if he remains towards the top of the order, score some runs.

However, from a first baseman, fantasy owners want to see home runs.  His power metrics show less hope then Loney’s at the same point in his career.  Hopefully Morrison is able to develop a little more power, but at this point you can’t like what we’ve seen.  I could argue that Loney’s metrics appeared more likely for power, and we’ve seen where that has led him (13 HR apiece in 2008 & 2009 and 8 HR thus far in 2010).

What are your thoughts on Morrison?  Is the comparison to Loney a good one?  Who do you think will be the better player long-term?

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4 comments

  1. GT says:

    Good comparison, as always great analysis.

    I never saw LoMo’s star attached to his power potential though, unlike Loney a few years ago. He’s more of a great all around player that does a lot of things like hitting for contact, getting on base, and getting the extra base hit when needed. He has also improved with every promotion through the minors. Logan’s a better fit for Florida’s future as an OF than Loney is in LA as a 1B. With lumber in their lineup (Uggla, Stanton, Ross), FLA thrives when guys get on base (Gaby Sanchez, Hanley, and to a lesser extent Bonifacio and Maybin next year), and I think Logan fits well into the latter category. Loney’s “bust” label is attached to high expectations at a power-heavy position, while a .300/85/15/85 season from an OF is nothing to sneeze at.

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    This is a great comparison that I hadn’t thought of yet. Despite all the experts projecting that Logan should see a power increase, his splits don’t show that to be a prudent expectation. Many point to his recent injuries (either shoulder or arm or something like that?) and state that it is sapping his power, but as you state above, he has only shown power at Single-A.

    Typically a true power hitter in the majors has a minor league FB% in the 40’s or higher, but Logan can barely crack the 30’s. The position switch to left-field makes him more of a comparable to Raul Ibanez. In his prime he was hitting in the 290s with an OPS in the low 800s, 30+ doubles with 18-20 HR potential

  3. Jon Williams says:

    I still like Logan Morrison’s power potential. It is a good comparison, one I wouldn’t have come up with. However, Loney’s lack of power does not mean (of course) does not mean that Morrison has no shot at developing it.

    The Raul Ibanez comparison that Nick makes is not a great one. Ibanez spent most of his career in two of the more difficult homer parks in the American League.

  4. M J says:

    I think a good comp for Morrison might be Mark Grace. He could belt 15-20 homers but will make contact and draw a lot of walks. I think he’ll be a far better player than Loney….even if he never hits a ton of homers.

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