Fantasy Football

2012 Fantasy Baseball, Week 12: Mike Morse (The Beast) Is Back!


Mike Morse (credits below)

“The Beast” is back. Michael Morse finally hit his first homerun since returning from injury. This could be the beginning of a return for the surprising slugger of last year. Is it time to get him while his value is still unknown? The short answer is “yes.” While he isn’t a household name just yet, the power potential in a HR-starved MLB is too tantalizing to pass up. It’s time to be the savvy owner and take advantage. 

Morse made his return from the DL with little limelight. His hitting since being inserted to the lineup was also small. Before the much-needed homerun, he was hitting a paltry .211, slugging .281, and an OPS of .527. The counting stats are scary as well: a .246 on-base percentage and 15 strikeouts. While the sample size was small – 57 ABs – the lack of production was enough to ignore his name. This slow start isn’t new to “The Beast.” Last year, his breakout year, Morse hit .224, slugged .284, and an OPS of .550 in July. Sounds familiar? The striking part is that this was also a small sample size (67 ABs). The following month, Morse broke out and hit .403 and finished the year with 31 HRs. Remember, Morse is effectively still in his “spring training” and he finally is getting consistent plate appearances to get his rhythm down. 

The batting order is definitely a bonus. National’s manager, Davey Johnson already put his full support to Morse. He consistently bats him fourth or fifth in the lineup. While, the team isn’t full of pop or big power threats, Morse is entering a similar lineup as the one last year. The return of 3B Ryan Zimmerman only brings good things to the Morse bandwagon.
Last year’s numbers as a first-time everyday player lined up well with the previous year. In 2010, his 15 HRs in 293 PA pushed him to an easy 30+ HR pace. The power is legitimate. For a slugger, the K-rate is comforting. While the league average for K% is at 19.6, Morse currently swings and misses at 24.6%. But, the silver lining is that Morse’s K% in the past two seasons was near league average at 21.8%. The strikeouts are not an issue. The injury that put him away for so long looks to be over with. While lat strains can linger, like oblique injuries, Morse was held out for longer to prevent any reoccurrence. 

There are still some negatives. First, he’s still a relatively new player to the “show.” It’s only been 1201 plate appearances and he’s spent the majority of his career in the minor leagues. The lack of a big sample size means it’s still a small leap of faith. Even as a minor, the average wasn’t great – but the power was there. He doesn’t steal bases or draw many walks, so that takes away from two categories in fantasy: SBs and OPS. For buyers, it would boil down to average and power. Owners buying Morse must take a risk that some of the trends of the past two seasons continue: a good average and great power numbers.

While the risk is certainly there with Morse, the price definitely warrants it. He’s still a player that lost considerable hype since draft-day and can be had. The time to buy-low on the slugger from Washington is now. Don’t wait too long for Morse to heat up and drive the price up.

Written by Tim Lee exclusively for Follow Tim on Twitter at @SHBL_Tim.

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