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Kendrys Morales finished fifth in the American League MVP race in 2009 and was off to a hot start in 2010 when an unfortunate and horrific leg injury ended his season after just 51 games. Morales missed the rest of 2010 and all of the 2011 season.
Morales now has back-to-back respectable seasons on his resume, but nothing near the thirty home run and hundred runs batted in variety. However, there is a lot of production left in Morales’ bat, as twenty-five home runs and eighty runs batted in is well within reach. Morales has always hit for a respectable average.
Morales is a useful bat to have in your lineup, unfortunately, he is a defensive liability — even at the one bag. Last season, Morales played all but thirty-one games as a Designated Hitter and more of the same should be expected in 2014. Therefore, there is no reason to believe Morales will sign anywhere other than the American League this off season.
As it pertains to fantasy baseball, Morales is the type of reliable, yet low-upside hitter who can offset risky earlier picks and stabilize your utility or corner infield roster slot. He is a switch hitter too, which also keeps him out of potential righty/lefty platoons. Although Morales’ batting average is much lower when batting right-handed he still has ample pop in his bat from the right side.
Morales has played his entire career in pitcher friendly ball parks in Anaheim and Seattle, so there is potential for his numbers to creep closer to his 2009 totals if he lands in the right hitting environment. However, there is also a possibility he lands in a strong lineup and doesn’t see full-time at bats. Therefore, where Morales signs is important.
Most American League teams have a designated hitter locked down and if Morales were to sign somewhere it would cost a team’s first round pick. So, the addition of Morales isn’t exactly on the top of anyone’s off-season lists of things to do. He brings a respectable bat, but the price tag is high for most clubs.
The current suitor most feel is the best fit are the Baltimore Orioles. They lacked offense production from the designated hitter slot last season and are a team ready to make a push for the 2014 post season. Morales would gain a significant advantage hitting in Camden Yards surrounded by an improved Orioles lineup — a lineup where he would see increased runners on base and protection behind him in the lineup.
Until the dust settles, Kendrys Morales’ fantasy value is unknown, furthermore, there may have to be a trickle-down effect, where other moves take place before Morales fits a particular suitor. He brings a reliable bat to fantasy squads, but at the cost of a first round pick for the real clubs, where he lands might not be clear for a few more weeks.
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