Power is a good thing. In sports, it can be the best of things. In football you have powerful linemen mauling their opponents. In basketball you have a vicious slam dunk that can rattle the rim, and the other team’s psyche as well. Hockey, with a powerful slapshot, can send shivers up the spines of all who witness it. In baseball, there is the power hitter. Nothing captivates fans, and builds confidence like a monster home run to break open a game.
Welcome Michael Morse to the San Francisco Giants. They have looked for someone like you for a few years now. Actually, it really goes back to when Mr. Barry Lamar Bonds was consistently hitting splash balls in to McCovey Cove.
Now we know the Giants have won two World Series without a true, pro-typical power hitter, but that was then; and this is now. Pitching still wins championships, and hopefully the Giants stellar rotation and bullpen can again lead the way. But there is no denying the Giants were sorely in need of a force in the middle of their lineup.
Morse’s stats, from his last full regular season in 2011 for the Washington Nationals look like this: 146 games played, a .303 batting average, 31 home runs, and 95 runs batted in. 2012 and 2013 saw a drop off in games played and production for Morse, mostly due to injury, but the Giants are counting on a healthy Morse to again fill the left-field spot in the batting order with home run power.
It was essential for the Giants to get more power their lineup in 2014. Just looking at the teams in NL West, it’s obvious the Giants were behind the rest of the division in this all important aspect.
The Los Angeles Dodgers can trot out Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez each game. The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired slugger Mark Trumbo this offseason to go alongside Paul Bunyan (Paul Goldschmidt). The Colorado Rockies acquired former home run derby participant and all-star Justin Morneau this offseason to go with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Even the San Diego Padres have decent power with Will Venable and Jedd Gyorko, who both hit over 20 home runs last year.
Adding Morse to the middle of the lineup will give the Giants a boost of right handed power hitting they were in search of. Now, looking at the power hitters in the batting order, the Giants will have Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and Morse to play long ball with.
Yes Morse may strike out a more than a few times. You can even make an argument that the Giants paid too much for an oft injured player looking to regain his form. But the rewards of adding Morse far outweigh the risks.
Power can do a lot for a lineup. It can be a fear factor that makes opposing pitchers aware of the long ball threat. Other hitters in the lineup benefit by seeing better pitches, and quite frankly, will be pitched to more because of Morse’s presence.
Let’s face it, hitting singles and doubles, and playing station to station baseball can be an effective, winning formula. But it lacks the sizzle that puts fans in the seats, and the allure to stay in their seats one more batter before going to get another tray of garlic fries.
Singles and doubles typically don’t make the other teams pitchers and managers worry very much when the on-deck hitter has three home runs, it’s late August, and the Giants have two men on base and are down by three in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The long ball cures a lot of ails, and hopefully the Giants have cracked the code for another year of success and a run at the World Series; and that could be because of the Morse code.
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