With Corey Hart, James Loney, and Logan Morrison off the market the options are running out for the Brewers open spot at first base. Ike Davis seems to be their top target as of right now, but Justin Smoak, Mitch Moreland, Adam Lind, and Mike Carp are also probably available should the Pirates be able to snipe Davis. None of these players are slam dunks and each one will cost a player in to acquire. That has led some people to wonder why Hunter Morris isn’t in play. The answer is really quite simple if you look past his “2012 Brewers Minor League Player of the Year” season.
I won’t take that away from him though. He was pretty good in 2012 at Double-A Huntsville. He hit 301/357/563 with 28 home runs. So yeah, if that’s all you’re looking at it seems confusing that he isn’t being talked about more. Unfortunately for Morris, the Brewers are aware of his contributions before and after that season. Take a look:
2010 (A): 251/306/436
2011 (A+)* 277/299/461
2013 (AAA) : 247/301/457
*He did get promoted to AA in 2011 but he only played 4 games (17 plate appearances) so I didn’t include those stats.
Another thing to consider: BABIP (batting average on balls in play)
2011: 289 (again not including the 17 PAs at AA)
That 2012 BABIP is so far out of line it’s simply unsustainable. This is evidenced by a return to the norm in 2013. The power is real, I'll give him that, but that 2012 "breakout" is an illusion. This is why Hunter Morris is not being seriously considered.
I hear a lot people say that if he isn’t ready now at 25, he’ll never be ready. There is no logic in that assertion. Morris is below replacement level player right now so why would you want to put him on the Brewers 25 man roster anyway? Because he’s getting older? That’s no argument. Some people take longer to develop. Morris was just added to the 40-man roster this offseason so he has all 3 options remaining. That means the Brewers can let him develop for three more seasons if they really wanted to and he clearly needs that time. I’m sure we’ll see him in Milwaukee at some point this season but it may not be until September. His performance in 2014 will tell us a lot about his future, but a lot will also depend on who the Brewers do get to play first base.