MLB’s One-Season Wonders: Mike Morse And 2011
In the early 2010s, the Nationals were able to obtain solid enough talent to make deep postseason runs. It finally came all together in 2019, winning their first championship ever. One of these pieces early on was Mike Morse, although it was only for one such season.
Drafted in the third round of the 2000 draft by the White Sox, Morse wasn’t slated to be an impactful player. He had traits of being a utility piece, playing shortstop and third base. Right before his call-up, Chicago traded him to Seattle.
Unfortunate mishaps delayed his MLB tenure at first. Morse suffered a few season-ending injuries and also the league busted him for PED usage. He spent time flip-flopping between Triple-A and the big-league club.
The Mariners then traded Morse to the Nationals in exchange for Ryan Langerhans in 2010. After tearing it up for the Triple-A squad, he earned a call-up and showed glimpses of what he’d do the following year. During his first six seasons, he combined a solid slash of .291/.353/.456 in 237 games.
Heading into 2011, Morse was able to put his talent on full display throughout a full season. He crushed the league, obtaining career highs in all offensive categories. In 146 games, Morse batted .303/.360/.550 with 31 home runs, a 147 OPS+, 95 runs batted in, and an oWAR of 4.1.
Morse narrowly missed out on an All-Star appearance but received MVP votes at the end of the year. He ranked fourth in slugging, eighth in OPS and eighth in extra-base hits. Truly a landmark of an offensive season.
Morse continued to show signs of being an excellent player and a mainstay of the Nationals … when healthy. This issue plagued him for the rest of his career practically.
Between 2012 to the end of his career in 2017, he only averaged 75 games per season. Morse did, however, help the San Francisco Giants during their World Series run in 2014.
His age always was a factor too. Not playing your first and only full season until 29 will do that to you. After 2014, Morse also struggled with the bat. He signed a two-year deal with the Marlins but lost the starting first base job to Justin Bour.
Afterward, Mike Morse found himself back with the Mariners as well as the Giants before hanging up his cleats for good in 2017. Between 2012-17, he slashed .257/.310/.424 with 53 home runs combined — quite a far cry from his 2011 season.
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