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Thread: The Silver Linings of Kendrys Morales

  1. #1
    All Star TwistedLogic's Avatar
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    The Silver Linings of Kendrys Morales


    I don't really like the Kendrys Morales signing. I don't have anything against the specific player but I struggle with the way he fits into this ball club. I think this move has been the most questionable made by the revamped front office to this date. Having ridiculed the Athletics for their signing of Billy Butler, it's hard not to see the parallels here on the surface. That being said, I don't believe that there are no redeemable qualities in Kendrys Morales. In fact, if the front office signed him with these qualities specifically in mind (and there's no reason to believe that they didn't), it's easy to see why they feel he will fit into his new environment; why he can realistically surprise the world of baseball with a very good year. Let's touch on a few of them now:

    1) Kendrys Morales hits the ball very, very hard.

    If we establish an arbitrary cut off of 200+ events, only eight players in baseball had a higher exit velocity than Kendrys Morales in 2016. All eight of these players are either past (Zimmerman, Holliday) or present (Ortiz, Cabrera, Stanton, Pederson) superstars, or among the strongest power hitters in the game (Cruz, Trumbo).




    Once again, we see Morales' strength displayed in FanGraphs' hard contact leaderboards, where only five players in all of baseball posted higher marks in 2016 (Ortiz, Freeman, Carpenter, Trout, Cabrera). Jose Bautista tied with Morales at 41.1% but unlike Bautista, Morales also made a load of medium strength contact at 46.1%.



    2) Kendrys Morales is leaving Kauffman Stadium

    This one doesn't require a whole lot of explanation but I will try to expand on it as much as I can. While Kauffman stadium is actually a pretty good park for padding your batting average, it is an absolute graveyard for the home run ball. ESPN's park factors ranked Kauffman as the fourth worse stadium in this regard in 2016, 227 points below the Rogers Centre. Yankee Stadium, Fenway and OPaCY were also miles ahead of Kauffman, with even Tropicana receiving a significantly better rating.

    Despite the dead-ball nature of Kauffman Stadium, in 2016 Kendrys Morales became the first Royals hitter to hit 30 home runs since Jermaine Dye knocked out 33 in 2000. Over the last fifteen seasons, Billy Butler (29) is the only other hitter to approach that mark.

    Lastly, Kendrys Morales is a switch-hitter, making him the first power hitter employed with the Bautista-era Blue Jays that can take advantage of the gimmicks in both Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Fans have every reason to believe that the transition from Kauffman and the AL Central to the Rogers Centre and the AL East should see Morales receive a considerable boost to his home run numbers.

    3) Kendrys Morales' lack of mobility may not actually hurt the Blue Jays as much as you think

    Kendrys Morales was never a fast guy, but ever since he fractured his left leg in what has to be the most hilariously depressing celebration of a walk-off grand slam in the history of baseball, he has been less fast than not fast. By far the most criticized aspect of Morales' game is his speed (the lack of it). Many Blue Jays fans are concerned about how much value the team will lose under Morales' feet and whether or not the signing will even be worth it because of this one major issue.

    While a lack of mobility should always be a concern for any professional athlete, there is reason to believe that the Blue Jays will not be hurt by Morales' non-existent foot-speed nearly as much as a team like the Royals. As we've already established, Kendrys Morales hits the ball extremely hard. For a guy making so much hard contact and so little soft contact, a lack of speed isn't really going to stop him from getting on base. This isn't exactly a guy who has to regularly beat out grounders to first. The bigger issue with Morales isn't whether or not he can get on base, it's how much will his speed impede the baserunners behind him once he's gotten on. In terms that our favorite troglodyte redneck Gregg Zaun would be proud of, will Kendrys Morales clog the bases?

    In 2016, the Kansas City Royals (.139) ranked 28th out of 30 teams in isolated slugging percentage. The Blue Jays (.178) ranked 6th. Even with the loss of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays will never be a ball club that tries to stab you to death with soul-crushing single after soul-crushing single. The Jays don't steal much, don't bunt much and don't hit and run very often. Having Bowser on the basepaths may be the kryptonite of a shitty organization like the Kansas City Royals but for a ball club where guys standing on first base are often in scoring position, Kendrys Morales' Ortizian pace shouldn't be nearly as much of a factor.

    Finally, according to FanGraphs' baserunning metric, Jose Bautista (-5.2) was actually worth less than Kendrys Morales (-5.0) in 2016. This signing was really all about the speed upgrade all along.
    Last edited by TwistedLogic; 12-12-2016 at 06:48 PM.

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  3. #2
    Orioles Hangout Admin Boxcar's Avatar
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    Great write up, thanks. Lol how do we have posters making better articles than Sportsnet?

    It sounds odd, but I'd feel wayyyy better about Morales if the Jays hadn't had such a hard on for Jay Bruce. Then I'd say, "I can trust the FO, there must be something about the park factors that really help Morales here, kind of like Josh Donaldson." But Bruce was already in a park that should have helped his numbers so I'm left with a bit of doubt in that maybe they just had a strange obsession with Morales too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grant77 View Post
    I think we all know it's the latter. The Mariners have been a disgustingly bad offensive for a decade now and nothing has changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
    Great write up, thanks. Lol how do we have posters making better articles than Sportsnet?

    It sounds odd, but I'd feel wayyyy better about Morales if the Jays hadn't had such a hard on for Jay Bruce. Then I'd say, "I can trust the FO, there must be something about the park factors that really help Morales here, kind of like Josh Donaldson." But Bruce was already in a park that should have helped his numbers so I'm left with a bit of doubt in that maybe they just had a strange obsession with Morales too.
    I'm still hanging on to the (delusional?) hope that the Bruce rumors were just bullshit filler from reporters who had nothing better to do during a slow-news cycle. Easy to throw it out there knowing the Jays have been tied to him in the past. Heyman said yesterday that they were still interested but that they were "offerin' lil doe" so maybe it was only ever with the expectation that he would be a super low cost reclamation/backup guy? I don't know, I really don't want to consider that this team believes there is real value in Jay Bruce.

    Whatever, hopefully doesn't matter anymore. #StevePearce<3

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    Orioles Hangout Admin Boxcar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedLogic View Post
    I'm still hanging on to the (delusional?) hope that the Bruce rumors were just bullshit filler from reporters who had nothing better to do during a slow-news cycle. Easy to throw it out there knowing the Jays have been tied to him in the past. Heyman said yesterday that they were still interested but that they were "offerin' lil doe" so maybe it was only ever with the expectation that he would be a super low cost reclamation/backup guy? I don't know, I really don't want to consider that this team believes there is real value in Jay Bruce.

    Whatever, hopefully doesn't matter anymore. #StevePearce<3
    Yes, Steve keeps on giving.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grant77 View Post
    I think we all know it's the latter. The Mariners have been a disgustingly bad offensive for a decade now and nothing has changed.

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    I get it - I love it, but I can't help but pause when correlating exit velocity to success when I see the following listed in the top 25:

    - Anthony Recker
    - Ryan Zimmerman
    - Rickie Weeks Jr.
    - Mac Williamson
    - Eric Hosmer
    - Josh Rutledge
    - Madison Bumgarner

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brownie19 View Post
    I get it - I love it, but I can't help but pause when correlating exit velocity to success when I see the following listed in the top 25:

    - Anthony Recker
    - Ryan Zimmerman
    - Rickie Weeks Jr.
    - Mac Williamson
    - Eric Hosmer
    - Josh Rutledge
    - Madison Bumgarner

    Point 1 helps validate point 3.

    Well thought out TL, thanks for the write up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stangstag View Post
    The Governator is a man's man.

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    Nice post TL. Good to have you back.

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    - Recker was actually 125 wRC+ last season and given his avg launch angle + velo, you'd think he got slightly unlucky with homers. Plus, he plays in a pitcher's park. Also only 33 games. Could be a late bloomer?

    - Zimmerman's launch angle is too low but even then, seems like bad luck.

    - Weeks strikes out a lot and can't hit righties

    - Williamson also strikes out a lot, plus SSS. Lower launch angle

    - Hosmer's launch angle is far too low plus he had the same stadium issue as Morales. He's another guy I'd definitely target if KC put him otb. There's a very good hitter in here somewhere.

    - Rutledge used to be a huge sleeper when he was with the Rockies. His launch angle is ridiculously low and he strikes out way too much. Even with those two large flaws, he still put up a 96 wRC+. Guy might be decent if he put the ball in the air from time to time. Also SSS.

    - Bumgarner does hit the ball hard. He also strikes out a shit ton and never walks.


    On this list, only Zimmerman, Bumgarner and Rutledge finished the year as below average bats, and the reason why is directly related to secondary factors, except Zimm who was probably a bit unlucky.

    I can't seem to split statcast data, but another note about Morales is that his hard hit % jumped 7% in the second half. And, finally, which is actually interesting, it appears that Morales is an actual true switch hitter. Since his breakout 2009, he's 121 wRC+ vs. righties and 111 wRC+ vs. lefties.
    Last edited by Boxcar; 12-06-2016 at 10:55 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grant77 View Post
    I think we all know it's the latter. The Mariners have been a disgustingly bad offensive for a decade now and nothing has changed.

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    I thought the Morales deal was pretty safe. Moving into the AL East will help for obvious reasons. I don't like the Butler comparison because he's never had the power of Morales, and was a platoon player going into a ballpark he wasn't likely to have much success in.

    I'm expecting him to be pretty good and reliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
    - Recker was actually 125 wRC+ last season and given his avg launch angle + velo, you'd think he got slightly unlucky with homers. Plus, he plays in a pitcher's park. Also only 33 games. Could be a late bloomer?

    - Zimmerman's launch angle is too low but even then, seems like bad luck.

    - Weeks strikes out a lot and can't hit righties

    - Williamson also strikes out a lot, plus SSS. Lower launch angle

    - Hosmer's launch angle is far too low plus he had the same stadium issue as Morales. He's another guy I'd definitely target if KC put him otb. There's a very good hitter in here somewhere.

    - Rutledge used to be a huge sleeper when he was with the Rockies. His launch angle is ridiculously low and he strikes out way too much. Even with those two large flaws, he still put up a 96 wRC+. Guy might be decent if he put the ball in the air from time to time. Also SSS.

    - Bumgarner does hit the ball hard. He also strikes out a shit ton and never walks.


    On this list, only Zimmerman, Bumgarner and Rutledge finished the year as below average bats, and the reason why is directly related to secondary factors, except Zimm who was probably a bit unlucky.

    I can't seem to split statcast data, but another note about Morales is that his hard hit % jumped 7% in the second half. And, finally, which is actually interesting, it appears that Morales is an actual true switch hitter. Since his breakout 2009, he's 121 wRC+ vs. righties and 111 wRC+ vs. lefties.
    Good rebuttal (early CBPOTY candidate)...although it sounds like Twisted could have added in launch angle to separate the cream. I realise most of those hitters aren't below average - but when you're trying to suggest he has qualities of some of the best hitters in baseball...and you have a pitcher on the list - it's kind of counterproductive. haha


    Don't get me wrong - I like the Morales deal. I think he's going to be a very solid player here and I appreciate Twisted effort/post. It's all good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedLogic View Post
    I'm still hanging on to the (delusional?) hope that the Bruce rumors were just bullshit filler from reporters who had nothing better to do during a slow-news cycle. Easy to throw it out there knowing the Jays have been tied to him in the past. Heyman said yesterday that they were still interested but that they were "offerin' lil doe" so maybe it was only ever with the expectation that he would be a super low cost reclamation/backup guy? I don't know, I really don't want to consider that this team believes there is real value in Jay Bruce.

    Whatever, hopefully doesn't matter anymore. #StevePearce<3
    Is it not possible that we trade for Bruce, and Sign Dexter Fowler? I just read a projected payroll of 160 Million. I think that would be ideal situation with a lineup that ends up like this.

    RF Dexter Fowler
    3B Josh Donaldson
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    DH Kendry Morales
    C Russel Martin
    LF Jay Bruce (against Lefties BJ plays down in order)
    1B Justin Smoak/Steve Pearce
    CF Kevin Pillar
    2B Devon Travis

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    Very nice, TL. Glad to have you back!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brownie19 View Post
    Good rebuttal (early CBPOTY candidate)...although it sounds like Twisted could have added in launch angle to separate the cream. I realise most of those hitters aren't below average - but when you're trying to suggest he has qualities of some of the best hitters in baseball...and you have a pitcher on the list - it's kind of counterproductive. haha


    Don't get me wrong - I like the Morales deal. I think he's going to be a very solid player here and I appreciate Twisted effort/post. It's all good.
    Any kind of stat sheet on MLB.com fucking blows, but you can't get statcast data anywhere else afaik. Sorting is as simplistic as it gets.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grant77 View Post
    I think we all know it's the latter. The Mariners have been a disgustingly bad offensive for a decade now and nothing has changed.

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    All Star TwistedLogic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nafro View Post
    Is it not possible that we trade for Bruce, and Sign Dexter Fowler? I just read a projected payroll of 160 Million. I think that would be ideal situation with a lineup that ends up like this.

    RF Dexter Fowler
    3B Josh Donaldson
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    DH Kendry Morales
    C Russel Martin
    LF Jay Bruce (against Lefties BJ plays down in order)
    1B Justin Smoak/Steve Pearce
    CF Kevin Pillar
    2B Devon Travis
    It's obviously possible but the only time "Jay Bruce" and "ideal" should be used in the same breath is to say "Jay Bruce is not ideal".

    Even though he's only 29, he's already become a bat-only DH type with terrible defense. Darwin Barney was more valuable in 2016 in 43 fewer games.

    You don't want him in left field, and you definitely don't want him on a roster that's already carrying Smoak, Morales and Pearce. The last time Jay Bruce played well enough with the bat to deserve being rostered as a position player was 2013. That's a long time ago when you're talking about a declining offense-only type player.

    I know the homers are shiny, but if you really like that sort of thing, just release Smoak and sign Chris Carter for the league min or something.

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    Some stats for Morales for the past two seasons:

    AT TOR, NYY and BOS combined 76AB 2HR 18H
    Other parks 483AB 28HR 132H
    Kauffman 568AB 22HR 162H

    So 1HR per 38AB @ Those 3 HR friendly parks
    1HR per 17.25AB @ Other parks
    1HR per 25.8AB @ Kauffman

    His power is better from the left side
    vs L as R 15HR in 420AB
    vs R as L 37HR in 707AB

    Small sample size but I was expecting a little better production at those AL East parks.

    FYI @10 mill I like the Morales signing.

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    Nice post! Thanks TL

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