Everything’s coming up Chicago Cubs fans lately. Just a few days after their prayers were answered with the promotion of slugger Matt Mervis, now the team’s other long-awaited Triple-A star is headed to the North Side:
The Cubs are calling up Christopher Morel who had a 1.156 OPS this season at Triple-A. Made his debut for them last year.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) May 8, 2023
Christopher Morel fantasy impact
Cubs faithful had been clamoring for this move for weeks, as Morel — who hit 16 homers and stole 10 bases over 113 games while playing just about everywhere on the diamond in his first taste of the Majors last year — laid waste to Triple-A, going deep 11 times in just 29 games.
In most cases, a player putting up that sort of power/speed production in their rookie season would be cause for celebration, or at least intrigue. For Morel, though, it wasn’t even enough to make next year’s Opening Day roster, as the Cubs faced a logjam after signing Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer. There wasn’t really anywhere for Morel to find regular playing time, so he went back down to the Minors to bide his time.
And bide his time he certainly has. Morel’s swiped four bags and hit .330 to go with those 11 dingers, good for a truly ridiculous 1.156 OPS. Of course, all the previous concerns about Morel’s game still remain; even amid this scorching start his K rate has been above 30 percent, and that sketchy plate discipline is the reason he hit just .235 in the Majors last year. Still, the power and speed appear very real — he ranked in the 91st percentile in barrel rate and 88th percentile in sprint speed last year, per Statcast — and if you can stomach the poor average, he’s likely to contribute in each of the other four categories.
His defensive versatility also means he’ll play just about every day and he’ll offer tons of positional eligibility, making him a dream fit for your bench. Add it all up, and Morel deserves a roster spot in all fantasy leagues.