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Kendrys Morales Scouting Report

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Max Rieper, of Royals Review tells us about the Blue Jays new DH

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I asked Max Rieper, manager of Royals Review, for a scouting report on out new DH, and here is what he had to say:

There was some real worry that Kendrys Morales was washed up after his disastrous 2014 season, but the Royals took a gamble inking him to a two-year deal that winter and it really paid off in spades. He got off to a hot start in 2015 that really helped fuel the Royals to the best record in the league. He finished with a line of .290/.362/.485, leading the team in OPS+ and RBI. He really seemed to come through in the most clutch moments, such as in Game 5 of the American League Divisional Series where his monster home run put the game away and finished off the Astros.

Last year, Morales got off to a terrible start. He was under the Mendoza Line as late as June 5, and many fans were calling for his release, fearing he was washed up. The data suggested he was being very BABIP-unlucky and while his awful numbers were mostly from the left-side of the plate, he had historically been better from that side. He was hitting into a lot of shifts and struggling with off-speed pitches (see http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article78019557.html).

However, he turned around his season with perhaps the hottest month of June I can recall a Royals hitter having. He hit .402/.453/.655 that month, and ended up finishing strong, making his numbers look respectable as he went into free agency. However, he was still less than a 1 WAR player, due to very poor baserunning (among the 15 worst in baseball in Baserunning Runs) and of course, near-zero defensive value. He can spot you a few games at first base, and he surprisingly did not embarrass himself in right field for a few interleague games, but make no mistake, he is a designated hitter.

I think Morales can still be a productive hitter for a season or two, but I'm okay with the Royals passing on a deal of this size. His limited value, his age, and the third year make him a dicey proposition for a cost-conscious team. Still, he's a very likable player, a good clubhouse guy, and he still seems to have a lot of pop left in his bat.

Thanks Max.