My 2014 Fantasy Baseball preview continues with one final stop in the National League with the San Francisco Giants.
While the Giants don’t really have a tight position battle to pay attention to, I want to focus on the left field position.
After signing Michael Morse to a one-year, $6 million deal this offseason, the Giants are going with power over defense in left field. However if Morse’s bat doesn’t pick back up in a big way.
Morse’s defensive limitations aren’t worth it if he doesn’t do much more at the plate than he did in 2013, where he once again battled injuries and put up a meager .651 OPS and 13 homers in 88 games.
If Morse doesn’t hit, that means Gregor Blanco will be in the mix for more playing time, but fantasy owners should hope that isn’t the case as Blanco isn’t much of a fantasy option, posting only a .690 OPS in 2013.
I wouldn’t count out a platoon just yet, but if Morse hits, he is an intriguing option.
The good news is that Morse said he feels “120 percent” heading into the season, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He underwent a simple procedure, and he was swinging a fungo bat a week later and was hitting in the batting cage within a month.
That’s the good news.
The not so good news is that he is now playing in AT&T Park, which is one of the hardest places to hit a home run, according to StatCorner.com. It has a park factor of 64 for lefties and 74 for righties. A park that plays neutral would have a park factor of 100, so home runs are tough to come by near the bay.
Ideally you would be drafting Morse for his power potential, but how much will that suffer in his new ballpark and is he a guy you should be targeting in your upcoming drafts?
Prediction: Morse has an ADP right now of 298.5, which means he is going late in the 24th round in 12-team leagues. That alone says that fantasy owners aren’t buying into a big season from Morse.
But in that range I can definitely not kill myself for taking a gamble on Morse as if his bat comes around, he could be a steal.
His above average distance and batted ball speed (SOB) on HRs shouldn’t suffer greatly in SF, but his ability to stay healthy at 32 continues to be a concern for me.
Morse’s contact rate of 72-76 percent seems to point towards a hitter that should struggle with posting a solid batting average, but his 20 percent line drive rate and single digit infield fly ball rate should his average very respectable.
I am going to ignore his 2013 injury plagued campaign and look at his numbers overall. That being said, I project a .280 AVG, 25 HR and 85 RBI. Returning to the NL, where Morse experienced great success is big for me.
That alone means I would recommend taking a flier on Morse late in drafts.
He’s an injury risk for sure, which means many people in your league will be shying away from him.
If you see Morse still on the board after round 20, he’s a gamble you almost have to make as the potential rewards could outweigh the risks.