Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Kendry Morales Report

Kendry Morales, 1B, Anaheim Angels
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 2004, Cuba
Bats B/Throws R
22 YO, 6'1", 220 lbs

Morales ended up having a pretty decent season split between the California League and the Texas League. It didn't live up to pie-in-the-sky hopes of him challenging Dallas McPherson for the starting third base job in Anaheim, but those were unrealistic expectations anyways.

2005 Rancho Cucamonga: .344/.400/.544, 3 2B, 5 HR, 6 BB, 11 K, 90 AB
2005 Arkansas: .306/.349/.530, 12 2B, 17 HR, 17 BB, 43 K, 281 AB
MiLB Career: .315/.362/.534, 15 2B, 22 HR, 23 BB, 54, K, 371 AB

Well, it looks like he can hit. You have to like the batting average and isolated power. The Arkansas numbers are especially impressive since the Texas League is no filled will nothing but bandboxes. To be honest, there really isn't a single one remaining now that El Paso's franchise has moved to Missouri. Arkansas isn't exactly Wilmington or PetCo Park, but it isn't the worst place in the world to pitch either. So the power is for real. And there are no real red flags telling me that the batting average is a fluke either. The only real thing that I have to complain about is the walk rate, which is clearly subpar. That's just something to start working on though. I think that he should continue to hit and if he improves his selectivity at the plate, he has the chance to be a very nice major leaguer. Watch out for an offensive breakout if he starts the year in Salt Lake City next year because unlike Arkansas, that is a bandbox, aided by a pretty high elevation.

There are other thing to talk about as well. I'm on the record as not trusting Cuban birthdates, so I'm skeptical of the promise that his age brings. He'd still be a pretty good prospect and a probable major leaguer if he is really 25 years old instead of 22. But it would greatly diminish his ceiling. The other things that needs to be discussed are defense and baserunning. Both are question marks. The Angels are sticking to the party line stating that they think his defense is perfectly fine and that he only needs more work. I'm skeptical due to reports that his range is awful and his footspeed is nonexistent. It certainly looks like the hopes that he'd be a third baseman was just a case of wishcasting. He won't steal bases. If they move him to the outfield, he will be restricted to a corner spot and probably won't have very much range there either.

Morales's bat will definitely carry him. If he can make adjustments in AAA and the Show, he'll be successful. If he doesn't adapt at the plate, he'll end up being a really overpriced AAAA slugger pounding fastballs out of places like Nashville, Rochester, and Nagoya.

ETA: Late 2006/Early 2007
4 Stars

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