Offseason Prospect Overview: Christopher Morel

Christopher Morel

Christopher Morel

Season Review

christophermorel

Morel is a quick twitch athlete with explosive movement capabilities. He does not look powerful because of his narrow frame but Morel possesses plus bat speed, arm strength, and physically there is little he cannot do. Considered a big part of the Cubs 2015 IFA class, Morel is playing a bit of catch up with his contemporaries as he missed his first professional season because of a laceration he suffered off the field.

Morel returned to action in 2017. It took him a while to knock off the rust, but his production increased as the season went along. The Cubs then tried to jump him past the AZL last year, but after struggling mightily for a month in Eugene (.165/.172/.220), they did bring him back to Mesa where he recovered to post solid numbers (.257/.331/.363).

Positives

Bat speed. When he is swinging at strikes the ball jumps off Morel's bat. He was experimenting with an all-fields approach, and it seemed a little foreign to him. When he looks to pull the ball you see Morel at his best.

There may not be an infield prospect in the system with a better arm. Morel can unleash throws that remind me a bit of a young Junior Lake. He has soft hands, makes quick transfers, and his range is currently sufficient at shortstop. He could get pushed off that spot if he adds significant weight as he ages, but the way Morel is built I believe he will remain on the slender side, so I think shortstop can stay on the table even if third base is where he profiles best.

Negatives

Morel's game is still maturing. He missed a year of development and has also continued to grow physically. His offensive production has been inconsistent in both seasons, and it seems to be tied mostly to when he dials back his aggressiveness at the plate. When he waits for pitches to drive he can do damage.

Summation

He profiles for good defense at the hot corner, the versatility to play multiple other positions, and 20+ home run power at the plate. Morel is an energetic player often praised for his leadership abilities as well. The Cubs have shown plenty of confidence in his abilities despite his injury and occasional struggles.

2019 Outlook

A good spring by Morel could prompt the Cubs to challenge him with a shot in South Bend despite his failure at Eugene last year. The physical tools are present, so if his approach has matured since last year Morel could be ready to make a leap.

Comments

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  • Guys like this are so "iffy." Hopefully he will develop the plate discipline needed to maximize those skills.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Absolutely. High risk/reward.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Let's just say I'm not going to hold my breath yet. But it doesn't hurt to have guys like this around. If he "figures it out" these kinds of guys can be very good. If he doesn't--and we all know most don't--then he will be another in a long list of guys who just don't make it.

    To me I consider him to be a "draft-and-follow" candidate (yes, I realize he wasn't "drafted"). A guy you pick up because he has an intriguing skill(s) (in this case, bat speed and decent defense) and see what happens. In my opinion, the "risk" was already absorbed in the form of his signing bonus. Right now he is making low wages in the low minor leagues and trying to gain experience.

    How many more years of team control does he have? That might be a big factor.

  • Guys like this are our future. Can't wait until the
    June draft and July international market

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I hope guys like Hoerner are our future. If it is guys like this I am not excited for the future. There is a high "bust" potential here.

  • John Sickels posted his top 100 prospects on the athletic. For those interested in our ex prospects Eloy Jiminez and Dylan Cease are ranked 3 and 18 respectively amazing how screwed the white sox would be if they didn't make that deal because they clearly can't develop their own prospects. Fernando Tatis Jr. was traded for James shields and is now the #2 overall prospect lol

    Now on the cubs Miguel Amaya came in at 89 and Nico Hoerner at 95. On Amaya Sickels said "Age 19, hit .256/.349/.403 with 12 homers in A-ball; good defender who could be excellent in time; power took a step forward and he controls zone reasonably, giving breakout potential as a prospect; ETA 2021.

    On Hoerner Sickels said "Age 21, first rounder in 2018 from Stanford, hit .327/.450/.571 in 49 AB between Rookie ball and Single-A; very impressive in Arizona Fall League; excellent plate discipline with touches of speed and power; ETA 2021.

    He also listed 2 sleepers for every team and this list for the cubs includes RHP Yovanny Cruz and a guy a lot of you love 2018 draft pick OF Cole Roederer

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Jim Bowden's rankings (200-100) are out at The Athletic. He ranks Nico at #137. Cole Roederer at #188 and Brailyn Marquez at #179.
    He hasn't listed Amaya yet, so I presume he's in the top 100, whenever that gets published.

  • I saw that today. It’s about right for now.

    I also saw the Cubs just signed a lefty pen guy. Xavier Cedeno. Nice.

  • I just read an article on the Cubs website. It said Chatwood was pitching on one of the mounds that can measure speed/spin of his pitches. The new pitching coach has made a very minor adjustment and is happy with Chatwood's pitches now. Boy if the new pitching coach could get Chatwood's control/command problem fixed and let the nasty stuff shine, the Cubs may be very happy with Chatwood.

  • In reply to John57:

    It's way too early to tell, of course, but it Chatwood gets "fixed" that quickly, we'd have to wonder what the heck Jim Hickey was doing all year!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agreed on both fronts Cliff.

    But IF he's fixed - that leaves the Cubs with another interesting contestant for the #4/#5 spot in this year's rotation. But man Chatwood was hard to watch last season.

  • In reply to John57:

    Nice article on CJ's new windup on the MLB site, too. He's been working on it all winter, modeled after Kenly Jansen's windup. CJ says it gives him more control.

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