What if I told you there was a player who has hit 20 or more home runs in 4 straight seasons, has hit .249 or better in 4 straight seasons and will continuously drive in runs as he bats in the middle of an order for an American League team this season? What if I also told you that this player is currently being drafted around pick 447 in NFBC Draft Champions leagues? Well, I hope you are interested because I sure am and his name is Kendrys Morales.
Currently Morales is scheduled to hit 4th in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup where he’ll likely be the primary DH. The only thing that should be in his way is a young slugger named Rowdy Tellez. Tellez can rake, but he is currently slated to start the season in AAA while Justin Smoak and Morales play 1B and DH for the Jays.
Last year Morales only played in 130 games due to injuries, but prior to 2018 he had played in a 150 or more games in each season from 2015-17. Even with a shortened season he still managed his 4th straight 20+ home run season while hitting 21, drove in 57 (had 85+ from 2015-17), hit .249 and still had a .045 HR/PA which was on pace with his last 2 seasons of .046 and .049.
It gets even better for Morales when you dig into the statcast data over at Baseball Savant. In 2018 he had a career best barrel % at 12.1% (league average is 6.1%) and that went with a hard hit % of 52.6% (league average is 34.1%). If his contact skills weren’t jumping off the page, he even walked at a career best 10.6% which helped lead to a solid .331 OBP.
The barrel rate was outstanding, the hard hit rate was outstanding, but the continued home run numbers (remember in 20 or so fewer games than normal) could be attributed to another top 14 exit velocity in all of baseball. Morales has been in the top 14 in EV every season since 2015.
As you dig even farther into the world of baseball savant you see his xStats leave room for even more improvement. His BA-xBA was -.022, his SLG – xSLG was -.084 which was the second worst in baseball and then his wOBA – xwOBA was -.046 which was the 3rd worst in baseball. Morales still hit 21 home runs and his xstats say there is even more power that can be tapped into. Friendly reminder that Morales is going around pick 447 in NFBC Draft Champions leagues.
Steamer once again has Morales hitting .249 in 2019, but they even believe in better overall production. Steamer has Morales hitting 27 home runs, driving in 83, scoring 75 and even playing 146 games. Other projection sites like The Bat and Depth Charts is in line with Steamer and if all things go well, and that can be a big IF with a ball player that will turn 36 this season. If all goes well we are getting a steal with a player you can draft in the 29th or 30th round, let alone likely on the waiver wire after drafts.