Against all odds, the Detroit Tigers are proving one-on-one matchups with the White Sox to be even more a waste of their time than it was for the 2010 Twins. The Sox will pay $24.5 million to the two worst players in baseball (and rode the hell out of them), and have crafted an offense in their manager's image: a barrage of weak contact.
Yeah, there are problems with the White Sox.
There are so many that maybe I could start launching into them now, and not have exhausted all the topics of which to gripe about till Spring Training. Luckily, Brent Morel seems hell-bent on removing his offense from the list.
Brent has spent much of the year grappling with the MLB learning curve, so picking a date from at which point he stopped being overwhelmed and mapping it out from there would provide more fair glimpse of him as a player than it would for most.
It's still preposterous, though. I say, if we're going to pick an arbitrary date to monitor Morel's offense from, let's make it as ridiculous as possible, and start the cutoff at the 4-hit night he had against Cleveland.
From August 16th on: 98 PA, .277/.367/.542, 12.2 BB%, 16.3 K%, .290 BABIP.
The first thing that jumps out is the massive, preposterous power surge. That's a .267 Isolated Power score, which is right around the famously all-or-nothing Adam Dunn's career numbers.
That'll happen when you hit 5 HRs in a month's time. It also won't happen, because at no point has even the most delirious team representative suggested Brent Morel can average 5 HR a month. He's apparently strong enough to hit the ball out to center multiple times in one night, but this is going away. Soon, even.
Nor is that 12.2% walk-rate reasonable, Brent may be a young man, but chances that he blooms into a more patient hitter than he ever was in the minors is remote.
On the radio broadcast Tuesday, Darrin Jackson commented that Morel is simply "seeing the ball really well right now", and that's about a good of a job of describing it as any. With no changes in contact rate or BABIP, Morel is just recognizing and squaring up everything at levels that blow away any conceptions of what his true talent level is. He's earned these numbers, but they don't suggest lasting change.
What it does suggest is that his medium is at least a shade happier than his .106 ISO (think this season's Alex Rios) and 4.1 BB% on the season represent, which is more of a win than it sounds like.
At .257/.293/.363 on the season, Morel is creeping--or racing--toward offensive acceptability (next stop: league average!).
While J.J. points out that Morel is quite likely to run unopposed for the 2012 Third Basemen race, Jim points out that the White Sox don't have a wealth of patience with their youngsters, and Morel is still one of the easier guys to move should the front office have an eye for upgrades in the off-season.
With all the expensive problems they have, the White Sox could desperately use some cheap fixes, or at least would like to be able to leave 3B unattended for a while so that they can go put out some of the fires on the other parts of the boat.
Going even farther than his actual performance value, if Morel can simultaneously give decent returns as a cheap in-house product and provide a success story for a patient approach in exposing and rearing a young player, it could inspire some healthier behavior from the player development wing.
I'll stop there. Wouldn't want to ascribe any more importance to Morel taking another walk in the next two weeks.