Justin Morneau was one of the premier first basemen in the late-2000s and early 2010s. Considered one of the Twins’ best players of all-time, Morneau looked like one of the brightest hitters in baseball in the years 2006 to 2010.
In these five years, Morneau hit .298/.372/.528 with 136 home runs, 133 wRC+ and 17.6 fWAR. He was also quite the defender at first too with +9 DRS, a 3.2 UZR/150 and 5.6 range runs above average. Morneau took home the 2006 American League MVP, two Silver Sluggers and went to four straight MLB All-Star Games from 2007 to 2010.
However, Morneau missed half of the 2010 season due to a concussion, and was affected by multiple other injuries in 2011. It was the second straight season Morneau failed to play even 100 games. He was able to stay healthy for most of 2012 appearing in 134 games and collecting 570 plate appearances, but the production was no longer there. He hit for a respectable .267/.333/.440 line, 19 long balls and 107 wRC+, but it was a far cry from his numbers between ‘06-’10.
By 2013, Morneau’s contract was nearing its end. In his first 543 plate appearances of the season, he hit .259/.315/.426 with 17 long balls and a 102 OPS+. That was when he was traded to the Pirates for Alex Presley and Duke Welker.
Though Morneau had a solid .260/.370 BA/OBP, the power was completely non-existent Only four of the 20 hits he had in 92 plate appearances with the Pirates went for extras, and none of them left the park. Still, he was the starting first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates in their first ever playoff game at PNC Park, and the first in 20 years, that being the legendary 2013 National League Wild Card Game.
After 2013, the Pittsburgh Pirates let Morneau go in free agency, making him one of the multiple first basemen who started for the Pirates in the 2010’s. He signed on with the Colorado Rockies and had an outstanding bounceback season hitting .314/.364/.496 with 17 long balls and 32 doubles in 550 plate appearances, putting together a 122 wRC+. However, this was the last time Morneau would play a full season. The former Twins’ MVP only played 107 games across the next two years with the Rockies and Chicago White Sox. After the 2017 season, he retired and was hired by the Twins as a special assistant.