May 8, 2023, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross on how he plans to use newly called up infielder/outfielder Christopher Morel, “I don’t know that there’s this big path for everyday at-bats. The ability to get Velázquez back (to AAA) & not let him sit on the bench & some ability to mix Mo in time to time is probably going to be more of a role than just everyday at-bats.”
Because of a couple of injuries, Morel has played every day since that statement, filling in at second base, left field and center field. Nico Hoerner, who was on the 10-day injured list because of a mild hamstring strain, returned Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, but Morel remained in the lineup, as starting center fielder Cody Bellinger hit the injured list with a knee issue.
The Cubs broke their five-game losing streak, beating the Phillies 10-1, but it certainly hasn’t been Morel’s fault that the team has been playing poorly. Even when he’s had defensive miscues, the 23-year-old has consistently been producing at the plate.
Morel put the finishing touches on the Cubs’ blowout win by hitting a two-run home run in the ninth inning, his sixth home run in nine games since he was called up from Triple-A nearly two weeks ago.
Morel scored three times and thanks to his sixth home run of the season he has now recorded at least one hit AND has scored at least one run in all nine games that he has played for the Cubs this year.
Here are Morel’s game logs so far in 2023.
5/9: 2-4, HR
5/10: 2-4, 2 RBI, R, 2B
5/12: 2-5, HR, 2 RBI
5/13: 1-4, R
5/14: 1-4, HR
5/15: 1-5, HR, 3 RBI
5/16: 1-4, R, 2B
5/17: 3-5, HR, 2 R
5/18: 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R
Morel is up to 41 plate appearances after Friday night. There are 14 players who have 40+ plate appearances with the Cubs so far in 2023. Here are some ridiculous comparisons of Morel and some of his teammates.
Morel’s 6 home runs are tied for third-most on the team with Yan Gomes. The catcher has 6 home runs in 96 plate appearances, more than double of Morel. Patrick Wisdom leads the team with 12 home runs in 152 plate appearances. There’s a good chance Morel passes Cody Bellinger by the time he comes back from the 10-day injured list. Bellinger has 7 home runs in 163 plate appearances.
Morel has more home runs than Nico Hoerner, Eric Hosmer, Matt Mervis, Tucker Barnhart and Nick Madrigal combined. Hoerner and Hosmer, (DFA’d Friday) each have 2, Mervis has 1, while Barnhart and Madrigal have zero.
Morel has 6 home runs and 2 doubles, so he has already passed six teammates in extra-base hits with 8.
Morel’s 12 RBI are as many as the combined total from Madrigal and Tucker Barnhart. Those two players have 152 plate appearances among them. Morel has also scored 12 runs, which matches the total from Hosmer, Mervis and Barnhart, who have a combined 202 plate appearances between them.
Overall in nine games, Morel has a slash line of .359/.390//872. He has struck out 15 times, so Morel does have to improve his strikeout rate moving forward.
However, I do have to point out that Morel and well the rest of the Cubs lineup that was also striking out a lot on the road, was facing the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros for six games. Those two pitching staffs rank number 1 and number 2 in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout percentage this season. So you know, maybe that’s why the strikeouts have been high for Morel, but unlike most of his teammates, Morel has actually been doing damage at the plate.
By the way, Morel has a higher walk rate than Madrigal, too.
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