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Michael Morse: Will the Production Continue?

Michael Morse is having his best season ever with 21 home runs and a 0.319 average. The 29 year old has filled in the void left at 1B when Adam Dunn signed with the White Sox this off season. I will look to see if his 2011 season can be duplicated in 2012.

Morse’s has hit as many home runs this season, 21, than in his previous 6 seasons. In his career, he has a 15.3% FR/FB ratio. This season it has increased a bit to 18.4%. In 2010, his average home run and fly ball distance was 300ft. In 2011 it has increased to 307ft.

Besides more fly balls becoming a home run, his OF FB% is up from 29.3% to 31.8%. Not much of a jump, but it is a jump. Morse’s home run increase seems sustainable into next season.

Batting average is the other stat that is making Michael valuable. His 0.319 AVG is 17 points higher then his career average of 0.302. The increase is not caused by more contact. His career K% is 21.1%. His 2011 value is 21.1%.

His BABIP this season is 0.367. This value seems high, but it isn’t that far off his career value is 0.355. Using slash12’s xBABIP formula, his 2011 xBABIP of 0.325 and his career xBABIP would be 0.326. Both of these values are below the actual values, but are still respectable. In 2010, he had a 0.330 BABIP and a 0.289 AVG to go with it.

For 2012, I could see his home run total between 20 and 30 and a 0.270 to 0.320 AVG. With those numbers, he should be drafted and started in all leagues. The stats are not ideal for a fantasy 1B in a shallow league, but Morse should be qualified in the OF in most leagues (27 LF starts this season). He will be a decent OF and can flex to 1B when an injury occurs or a player has a day off.

Michael Morse looks like he can keep up the 2011 production into 2012, with the possible exception of a drop in AVG. He adds great roster flexibility since he is qualified at 1B and OF. There is no reason to avoid him on draft day next year.