If you made it big in the restaurant business, you got a Chef’s Table.
At Fantasy Alarm we have one too. Expect here you don’t need a reservation. Or a fat stack to pay for it.
Each week I will profile a player or players based on increased street cred throughout the industry. Whether because of a recent hot streak, increased playing time or a promotion because of an injury. From there I will break down the recipe for that player’s success and determine if he is just a flash in the pan or someone who is gonna bring home the bacon.
Today’s Special: Kendrys Morales, 1B (KC)
After seven games, the Royals stand at 7-0 and are the only undefeated team left in the big leagues. This may come as somewhat of a surprise for some after the departures of key players that helped lead the Royals to the World Series a season ago in Billy Butler and James Shields, but it has been the new faces, including Morales who have been the talk of the town in Kansas City.
Through his first 34 plate appearance with the Royals Morales is slashing .414/.500/.724 with five extra-base hits (2 HR) five RBI and five walks. Clearly he isn't going to hit over .400 the entire season, but his early season accomplishments gives hope that maybe he can return to his 2009-2013 stretch in which he powered out 90 home runs and managed a .286 batting average over a 1,845 at-bat stretch. However, in order for him to return to that level of production a few things have to fall in line before making him a must-own in all fantasy formats once again.
It wasn't until the Twins signed him last June before he made an appearance in 2014, and right from the start he failed to provide much of anything before being shipped off to the Mariners where he finished the season slashing .218/.274/.338 with eight home runs in 367 at-bats between the two teams. For starters, his lack of production was a direct result from both a career-worst six percent home run-to-fly ball rate and a career-worst 45.9 percent home run rate. Going to the Twins spacious ballpark was expected to take away some of his power numbers, but he has proven to be able to hit the long ball in pitcher friendly ballparks with both Safeco Field and Angels Stadium being his previous destinations. So clearly there was other factors weighing on him in regards to his value a season ago.
Despite last season's struggles, Morales still managed to take his fair share of walks, as he owned a solid 6.7 walk rate, which is slightly under the MLB average, but right around the mark he has owned over his nine-year career (6.9 BB%). If we factor in a bump in home runs, and a decent walk rate Morales, who is known more for being a contact hitter, should be able be able to maintain enough production to turn his recent success into fantasy value. Over the course of his career, Morales has a swing rate of 47.8 percent with his above the league average, but also owns a 77.0 percent contract rate which is a solid mark for a power hitter. With that said, a good bill of health and a fresh start with the Royals may have been just what he needed to return to relevancy.
Considering the small sample size, prospective owners have to remain skeptical about Morales, especially knowing his injury history, but he is one of only a few players likely unowned that has the chance of hitting 20-plus home runs if nothing else. So for now those in deep leagues will want to add him for his power stroke, although he isn't going to hurt the batting average category based on his track record. Those standard leaguers will want to continue rolling with their first baseman drafted prior to the season, but if he strings together another week of consistency, his value will skyrocket, making him a must-own fantasy player in all formats.