Tampa Bay Rays’ first baseman Logan Morrison hit an impressive home run Sunday against the Angels, but what was perhaps even more impressive was his celebratory bat flip. Here’s video:
Let’s see that in GIF form:
Bat flip of the year from Logan Morrison on a game tying two run jack pic.twitter.com/fUc9QyeS6o
— Ozzie (@OldComiskey) July 16, 2017
Sadly for the Rays, Morrison’s homer wasn’t enough; they’d wind up losing 4-3. But that was his 26th of the year, which is already a single season career-high for him. As noted Rays’ author Jonah Keri pointed out, both he and the team have been surprising:
Logan Morrison on pace to challenge 50 home runs for the playoff spot-holding Rays, just as everyone predicted
— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) July 16, 2017
Morrison is hitting .254/.363/.562 this year, well above ZiPS’ projected .247/.335/.458. And his previous single-season best HR total was 23, back in 2011 with the Marlins. Some of that’s about the changes in the ball that are creating an unprecedented home run rate, but some of that’s about Morrison’s own improvement. He’s hitting more fly balls with a higher launch angle and has improved his walk rate, and that’s leading to success for him. Here’s what he told FanGraphs’ David Laurila about his focus on fly balls earlier this year:
“I’ve looked at All-Stars in the league, and what they believe. I’ve heard guys say if they fly out three or four times a night, that’s a good night. I was always taught to hit the ball on the ground and run. And I’m not even fast.
“When you’re struggling, what are you told to go to? You go back to basics and try to hit a ground ball up the middle. I get shifted, so that would mean I’m out. So now, my “back to basics” is to try to hit a fly ball up the middle. Valuing that side of it — launch angle and all that stuff — has helped me out a lot.
“I read what Josh Donaldson was saying when he was going to his leg kick. Justin Turner… listening to him talk. Talking to my teammates, like Brad Miller and Evan Longoria. [Hitting coach Chad Mottola] wants me to hit the ball in the air. He wants me to err on the side of pull, rather than the opposite field. We have cool battles with that, but it’s not… the main thing is, just hit, right? Who cares?”
Well, Morrison’s certainly hitting. And if he keeps hitting this way, there may be many more bat flips to come.