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Player Profile #99: Michael Morse | OF | SEA

Somehow Michael Morse is able to maintain a high batting average (career .295) despite a pretty terrible K:BB ratio (career 0.27). He does it primarily by making excellent contact (career 19.5% line drive rate, 6.5% infield fly rate) and slugging the few fly balls he does hit out of the park (18.2% HR/FB rate).

Excessive parenthetical explanations aside, Morse pretty much is what he is. And that’s why I’m surprised he’s not more highly sought after in early mock drafts — his current ADP on MDC is 162.8. I really wish he wasn’t such a strong ground ball hitter, which is sort of off for such a strong hitter in general, but I do believe that last year’s 2.25 GB:FB ratio is on the more extreme side. In 2010 and 2011 his GB:FB ratio was 1.22 and 1.21, respectively.

If the fly balls return this year then the homers should pick up as well, even if he’s moving to an inferior hitting environment.

99_michael_morse

At a Glance

  • Strengths: HR, RBI, BA, SLG, OPS
  • Neutral: R, OBP
  • Weaknesses: SB

Player Comparisons

  • Best-case scenario: Billy Butler (KC)
  • Likely scenario: Ike Davis (NYM), Nick Swisher (CLE), Paul Konerko (CHW)
  • Worst-case scenario: Andre Ethier (LAD)

Michael Morse 2013 Fantasy Projection

Morse is one of the game’s better cheap power options. He could hit 30 homers and approach 100 RBI without really killing you anywhere, yet somehow he’s undervalued in drafts. Right now Morse’s 162.8 ADP is far lower than our ranking of 99th overall, which is the product of a rather safe projection.

Seattle is moving the fences in at Safeco, so the move probably won’t be as bad as most might anticipate (though the change will primarily affect right-handed batters). Obviously between the ballpark and the lineup it’s a negative move overall, but Morse’s numbers won’t be affected that much overall. If he can stay healthy I believe the 27 homers we project are easily attainable.

It should be noted that Morse’s walk rate is only average, though, which in turn means his OBP is only about average despite hitting for such a good average (have I said “average” too many times?). On the whole, though, Morse is one of the most undervalued sluggers in fantasy after struggling last year and missing time due to injury. You can probably wait on him later than what we project here, but if you need a balanced power threat and you don’t see a slam dunk pick still on the draft board, take Morse and his security. And I really do believe he’s secure.

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About the author: Bryan is the co-founder of Baseball Professor and works as a consultant specializing in operational metrics and efficiency analysis. When he’s not working, blogging, or tending to basic human needs, he enjoys pondering the vastness of the universe, rewatching episodes of Breaking Bad, and avoiding snakes. (@BaseballProf)

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