Left-Handed Tilt: Morales as Solution?

768px-Kendrys_Morales_on_August_4,_2013== He helps, but does it work? ==

Had a busy day at The Real Job, so for now I’m going to bump this from March. Obviously the salary is no longer a big issue, and pushing Smoak out of the lineup is not an issue at all.

 

Robinson Cano‘s spending plan for the Mariner front office (once Nelson Cruz was no longer on the table) includes Kendrys Morales.

And commenter Brent also suggests a deeper look at the 2013 Mariner as well.

[And to do this we have to recapitulate the draft pick scenario.  If another team signs Morales before the June draft, the Mariners gain a pick.  If the Mariners sign Morales, they don’t gain a pick.  If no one signs Morales before the June draft, they don’t gain a pick.  So in two of three scenarios they don’t gain the pick, and the one scenario in which they gain a pick is, perhaps, increasingly unlikely.  In that sense, the failure to gain the pick might not be too much to give up.]

===

So here’s our OPS+ chart with and without Morales:

Career OPS+ vs. RHP vs. LHP
Ackley 92 93 92
Bloomquist 80 73 92
Buck 87 84 93
Cano 125 135 106
Hart 116 111 131
Morrison 107 112 92
Saunders 89 94 77
Seager 111 123 89
Smoak 97 103 89
Avg. w/o Morales 100 103 96
Morales 120 127 104
Average w/Morales 102 106 97

===

And the same thing with our “Composite” of “non-random offensive contribution”:

Career Composite vs. RHP vs. LHP
Ackley 82 90 66
Bloomquist 57 36 93
Buck 74 69 87
Cano 133 148 102
Hart 111 100 142
Morrison 135 157 77
Saunders 92 96 85
Seager 107 127 69
Smoak 106 109 99
Avg. w/o Morales 100 104 91
Morales 115 120 99
Average w/Morales 101 105 92

So …

Morales helps, but from the right side he helps just by being average — among a group that’s mostly below-average.  That’s useful, of course, but here’s the thing:

You can’t really pay Morales just for being an average hitter vs. LHP.  Well, you could.  But I don’t think he’d agree to it.

To get full value out of what you’d need to pay Morales, you’d need to play him vs. RHP too.  But the only way to do that — given the defensive limitations — is to displace Smoak or Morrison.

And Smoak and Morrison are also good vs. RHP.  So the net gain isn’t that much.

[Maybe you play LoMo in the outfield, but then you’re displacing Hart.  I don’t think they’d play Hart and LoMo in the OF at the same time.  So you’re back to square one.]

I think the Mariners have probably worked this through the same way and reached the same conclusion.  Morales just doesn’t add enough to their current configuration.

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2 thoughts on “Left-Handed Tilt: Morales as Solution?

  1. This is where Guti would have been a great 4th OF for this club. He was almost a perfect fit for almost no money.

    I thought that was why they were considering Stefen Romero but he actually struggled against lefties last year (.218 .320 .368 in 103 ABs).

    Being left-handed heavy has some benefits obviously. The Mariners will be more likely to do better against right-handed pitchers than other, more balanced squads. Still, it would be nice to fill our bench with lefty smashers to make up the difference.

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