He’s a leaner meaner first baseman and Ron Washington has informed him he is THE first baseman. Mitch Moreland shared time at first base with Mike Napoli and Michael Young last season, hurt his wrist and never really was able to regain his 2011 form. You remember 2010? He leapfrogged others and broke onto the scene and ended up one of the only bats who showed up in the 2010 Fall Classic. Mitch actually upset my apple cart a little last year when he went public with a little disgruntlement about his lack of playing time. I don’t think we like to play that too much in our clubhouse but when push comes to shove it just means that Mitch wants to play. We like those guys.
Here’s the beautiful thing about Moreland’s makeup. He’s hungry. Maybe even literally so since he has dropped 15 pounds. By all accounts it’s his job and by his account, moving out of Young and Napoli’s shadow is not a problem. Ron Washington has removed any perceived pressure by telling him to “relax and have some fun”. Washington adds that he doesn’t have to live up to anyone else’s standards but his own. Those are probably some pretty high standards since he worked hard in the off-season and removed the platoon demons from his back by working with his own left-handed pitcher.
Moreland was actually quite a surprise to most fans when he showed up. He leap-frogged Chris Davis and the much heralded Justin Smoak which also allowed the Rangers to make the Cliff Lee deal with the Mariners. A healthy everyday Moreland gives us a much needed left-handed bat in our lineup. He’s not a defensive liability either. He’ll get rest by being spelled by Lance Berkman. All of this is part of “The Plan”.
I know in the Moneyball days a lot of the old ways are gone. The whole “when you know, you know” idea has been minimized. Hey fantasy guys…can you say sleeper? With everything I have seen from Moreland and his ability to fight through an injury and passed two other first baseman, I’m feeling pretty good about Mitch this season. We are putting some stock in our system this season. Mitch Moreland is exhibit A.