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Justin Morneau is finally healthy and hitting like his old self

May 20, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT

Justin Morneau Rockies AP

As a Twins fan this pains me because I’m sick of seeing players leave Minnesota and thrive elsewhere, but as a human I’m thrilled to see Justin Morneau doing really well for the Rockies.

Morneau’s career was derailed by a concussion in mid-2010. At the time he was hitting .345 with an OPS over 1.000, gunning for his second MVP award. And then he spent the next three seasons struggling to stay in the lineup amid dizziness and headaches and various other horrible symptoms that led to him hitting just .256 with a .726 OPS from 2011-2013.

He looked nothing like his old self at any point and following a trade to the Pirates late last season Morneau slugged just .312 with zero homers in 25 games. It was sad to watch. And now Morneau is hitting .327 with nine homers and a .940 OPS through 42 games for the Rockies, including .300 with a .538 slugging percentage away from Coors Field.

Part of me is like “dang, why couldn’t that have happened for him in Minnesota” but most of me is like “at least it’s happening somewhere.” At age 33 his career is back on track and everyone (except maybe National League West pitchers) should be very happy about that.

  1. garybrian - May 20, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Good for him and continued good luck and even more important, good health!

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 20, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    He still looks pretty slick with the leather as well. The ridonkulous defensive numbers put up by Tulo and Arenado are at least in part due to Morneau picking some less-than-perfect throws and making the outs. Good on him.

  3. dluxxx - May 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Glad to see it. He was certainly looking like his career was just about over. I’ll always wonder what could have been had he not had the issues…

  4. grumpyoleman - May 20, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    There were no-nothing stat nerds on here last year wanting to put him out to pasture. He’s a very good ballplayer who has not had it easy the past couple of years.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM


  5. thetxhammer - May 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Stat nerds were scrambling for their past data to find out who this Mourneau character was.

    Good for him, would’ve been a sad story to have a concussion from such an ordinary diving play end a promising career.

    • zzalapski - May 20, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      It’s turbo-nerds to you.

      Also, he’s well-known in sabremetric circles as the person who was gifted the 2006 AL MVP (he wasn’t even the MVP of his own team, much less the league).

      Also, his most serious concussion was from colliding with John McDonald’s knee while sliding into 2nd base, not from “an ordinary diving play”.

  6. happytwinsfan - May 20, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    This surge might lift him to the hall of the very good. Had it not been for the concussion, he might have been headed for the other hall.

    • zzalapski - May 20, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      B-Ref’s career comps for Morneau through his age-28 season (his last full season before his most serious concussion), in descending order:

      Adrian Gonzalez, Paul Konerko, Alvin Davis, Fred McGriff, Richie Sexon, Derrek Lee, George Bell, Carlos Delgado, Kent Hrbek, Carlos Lee

      “Might” is a fair assessment of his pre-injury HoF chances.

  7. doctorofsmuganomics - May 20, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    anything that pains twins fans is okay in my book. Way to go Justin!

    • happytwinsfan - May 20, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      then you’re out of luck, because Twins fans are happy to see him doing well where ever he is because we love the guy.

      • doctorofsmuganomics - May 20, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        “As a Twins fan this pains me because I’m sick of seeing players leave Minnesota and thrive elsewhere”

      • happytwinsfan - May 20, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        It’s not the first time.

  8. musketmaniac - May 20, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Morneu and Ludwick two guys that couldn’t do a thing in a pirate uniform. Don’t normally root for injuries but a nice Joe Theisman injury for both would be nice.

  9. Shayna - May 20, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    What kind of thing is that to say?! Cheap, small, and vicious. Morneau has had more than his share of injuries and, even if that weren’t true, a real fan wants their team to beat their opponents when both teams are at their best. That’s the optimal test of a team’s ability and heart: can you beat the best? It is great for all of us who love baseball that Morneau is back in form. Let him play at the top of his game and then rejoice if your Pirates can overcome that.

  10. musketmaniac - May 20, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    great, but the top of his game is not that good. Four good years in Minnesota. but hasn’t hit over 100 rbis in five seasons. we were talking this week about empty stats. Here you go, Justin morneau!!

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