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6/20/1983 (33 y, 8 m, 9 d)
$33M / 3 Years (2017 - 2019)
Morales went 2-for-2 with a solo homer and two RBI in his Grapefruit League debut Sunday against the Phillies. (2/27/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
In parts of three seasons prior to 2009, Morales had a .249/.302/.408 slash line. Yet the Angels had little choice but to turn first base over to him on a full-time basis, having lost out on re-signing Mark Teixeira and trading away Casey Kotchman to get Teixeira in the first place. Then Morales went out and did his best Teixeira imitation, posting a .306/.355/.569 line over 622 plate appearances. He led the Angels in homers (34), RBI (108), and doubles (43) and finished second in average. Morales also raised his walk rate to 7.5%, which resulted in a .382 wOBA. In the field, Morales also shined, as he finished with a 5.0 UZR/150. Not only did that top Teixeira’s -4.1, it was the top mark among qualified first basemen in the Majors. It all added up to a 4.2 WAR, the second-highest mark on the club, behind only (the now departed) Chone Figgins’ 6.1 mark.
The Year Ahead:
Despite Morales’ outstanding year, he was just another first baseman in fantasy’s deepest position. His best categories among his positional peers were average and RBI, where he placed sixth. That should keep the bidding for his services somewhat in check. A bit of caution does seem to be merited. While Morales does not have any great warning signs, there are a bunch of little things which, added together, could be problematic. He posted a .335 BABIP, not an unsustainable mark, but certainly above average. Morales also recorded the highest K% of his career. His 20.7% mark was still good for a power hitter, but his 0.39 percent BB/K rate tied for the lowest among all first baseman. Morales also had the highest O-Swing% (32.3%) and his O-Contact% (63.8%) was only the 11th best, meaning pitchers have little reason to throw strikes. It could all mean a drop in average, hurting him in his most productive category. (Brian Joura)
After one of the more infamous broken legs in baseball history, a leading question for Morales might be health. So far so good on that front, as he's on track to be ready for spring training. Now the question turns back to power. Morales showed top-tier power in his breakout 2009 (.263 ISO), but last year's effort (.197) was more in line with his muted minor-league career. Of course, batting average qualifiers at first base averaged a .203 ISO last year, so his bat will play at the position with either level of power. But fantasy owners are best served to expect the latter when drafting, even if the former represents his upside. The good news is that the batting average should be solid either way, and at 27 going on 28, he'll be right in his peak years. If the lineup around him can take a step forward, too, then the runs and RBI will be there for him. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
The broken leg should heal even if our memories will always be scarred by that ill-fated celebration. The real question is wether Morales has the average power he showed coming up in the minor leagues, or if he can possibly repeat the power he showed in 2009.
The story of Kendry Morales may have gone down as one of the saddest stories in baseball if the final chapter was writ this past offseason. If his career ended on a walkoff celebration before he hit 30, he would have been the stuff of boogeyman stories told to overexuberant young celebrators. But Morales is finally taking batting practice again, and even if it took him a few screws and a couple surgeries, he looks to be fully recovered. Mobility was never a big part of his game anyway. If he is ready to go, he can provide ample power and good enough contact skills to boost his batting average and OBP. His power is not no-doubt -- it took him until Triple-A to break the .200 isolated slugging percentage barrier and projecting him for many more than 20-25 home runs is probably folly -- but the overall package is good enough to play in most utility slots, and it won't be expensive. Now, when it comes to beating out the rest of his competition for playing time, the Cuban does have another mountain to climb. But Bobby Abreu is old and has lost all his skills but patience, Mark Trumbo moves well enough to find playing time in the field, and Vernon Wells is Vernon Wells. There's a glimpse of light at the end of this long tunnel for Morales, and if he makes it out the other end, he can be a valuable professional hitter once again. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
Hey, Kendrys Morales is still only 28 going on 29. He may have lost a year to a leg he fractured celebrating a walk off, and his team may have about six viable options at his position, but he's not old. And he has some talent.
Kendrys Morales struggled to regain his power stroke early on, but as the year wore on, the switch-hitter began mashing more balls out the yard. While he’s on the tail end of his prime years, another offseason to rehab from his devastating injury should result in improved numbers for Morales. Moving from Angels’ Stadium to Safeco Field may appear to hurt him on the surface, but both parks play similarly for left-handed hitters, which is the side of the plate from which most of Morales’ games will come. Morales will be hurt by the lack of support around him in Seattle, but as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be worth a handful of dollars in standard mixed leagues. (Zach Sanders)
The Quick Opinion:
Morales will be hurt by the lack of support around him in Seattle, but as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be worth a handful of dollars in standard mixed leagues.
Kendrys Morales, healthy for the first time in perhaps the last two full seasons, didn't provide the big power stroke the Seattle Mariners were hoping for, but still provided nice value for most fantasy owners. His .277/.336/.449 slash line with 23 home runs and 80 RBI sits neatly in line with what you would expect from the hefty switch hitter. One notable thing Morales was able to overcome is a history of problems versus left-handed pitching. His career slash line vs. LHP stands at .262/.311/.425 with a .318 weighted on base average. In 2013, he managed a .282/.353/.440 slash line with a .345 wOBA, which was actually a hair better than he performed against right-handed pitchers. Keep an eye on where he lands in free agency and how it will impact his place in the batting order, not to mention the surrounding pieces. If Morales has a decent cast around him, he could provide solid RBI numbers and push 25 home runs if he can stay off the trainers table. It's not everything you'd ever want in a first baseman, but when you look at what's available at first base, there aren't that many guys who can deliver well in four categories, making Morales an interesting fall back option for 2014. (
The Quick Opinion:
Morales seemed to fix his issues with left-handed pitching, and managed to produce a nice little season at very low cost to fantasy managers. Where he lands in 2014 will obviously impact his projections, but if Morales can plod his way to a .280 batting average with 22-26 home runs and a goodly number of RBI, he's easily a decent corner infielder and could be a regular in deeper leagues.
Morales' season was an utter debacle, starting all the way back in the previous offseason with failed contract negotiations that saw the Scott Boras client not only reject a reasonable multi-year deal from the Mariners, but also reject a Qualifying Offer which resulted in him sitting out a large chunk of the season. Morales ultimately signed with the Twins and joined the team immediately, without a semblance of preparation time outside of individual workouts. Predictably, the switch-hitting Cuban stumbled to a .234/.259/.325 line in 162 plate appearances before the Twins flipped him to Seattle for broken-down flame-thrower Stephen Pryor. Morales was hardly better with the Mariners -- .207/.285/.347 -- but still managed to land a multi-year deal with the Royals to fill the role by departed designated hitter Billy Butler. Morales' bat still likely has some hits in it, but it'll be worth monitoring whether it was a lack of spring training or a slowed bat which stalled his 2014 season. It may have been a bit of both. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Morales signed with the Twins in early June, and jumped into the lineup right away. Predictably, his bat never got going as he had easily his worst season as a big leaguer. His status will be worth monitoring in the early season, as he likely still has a bit more in the tank than he showed down the stretch.
It has been quite a saga for Kendrys Morales. He defected from Cuba, had a few up-and-down seasons with the Angels finally followed by a .306/.355/.569 (with 34 homers) performance in 2009, suffered a horrific leg injury (during a celebration!) in 2010, made his way back to semi-usefulness in 2012 and 2013 with the Angels and Mariners, had an utter disaster season split between Minnesota and Seattle in 2014, and then landed a surprise two-year deal with the Royals in which he had the best hitting performance for the team on its way to its first World Series Championship in 30 years. Props, again, to Dayton Moore and his scouts for showing that they know their stuff -- a potential Jose Guillen redux turned out to be, well, a Kendrys Morales situation. It is not as if 2009 Morales came back, but he still managed to hit for good power while striking out at a lower than average rate. More surprising was Morales having the best walk rate of his career -- his first time above league average in that respect. It would be unfair to expect Morales, who will be 33 in June, to repeat his .290/.362/.485 performance from the Royals' magical 2015, and 2014 is still part of his record. However, something like .270/.340/.450 is actually pretty acceptable from even a designated hitter these days. Morales only had nine appearances at first in 2015, so that will hurt his positional eligibility in many leagues. Don't expect a repeat of 2015, but his has value in most leagues that have a utility/DH slot, and even a bit more if he qualifies at first in your leagues. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Don't expect Kendrys Morales do repeat his 2015 comeback performance, but there were enough good signs in 2015 to indicate that he has something left in the tank. He has decent value in most leagues that have utility/DH slots.
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Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 3:38 AM ET
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