- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
There has been plenty of discussion of late about the American League first baseman fantasy owners seem awfully scared to draft, a fellow who delivered 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2009 and seemed well on his way to duplicating the feat in 2010 before injury halted his season. However, the Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau has company in this regard, as fantasy owners apparently need to exercise a bit of caution on Los Angeles Angels slugger Kendry Morales as well.
- "I'm not really feeling any pain, but I feel tightness and a lack of flexibility," Morales told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. "As I work out and the inflammation goes down, I should regain that mobility ... I know there's a possibility (that's he's not ready for Opening Day). I've been working mentally on that, to be ready to handle the situation."
Well, there's a new twist for fantasy owners. Morales was injured May 29, breaking his leg at home plate while celebrating a walk-off grand slam against Seattle Mariners right-hander (and possibly current closer) Brandon League. Morales didn't merely bust his leg, he needed surgery, and a pin and screws were inserted. Most people have assumed -- perhaps the Angels have as well -- that Morales was recovering well enough that there would be no aftereffects leading into this spring. It sounds like Morales has doubts, though, discussing his ankle soreness and how he's running at about 50 percent, and adding the possibility of missing time.
Statistically, Morales was off to a similar "fantasy" start, at least power-wise, in 2010 to where he finished his breakout 2009 campaign, when he topped Morneau (and many others) across the board in home runs, RBIs and batting average. What was off in 2010 was his OPS, down 91 points, thanks to a lot fewer doubles. It's not a fair sample size, of course, comparing and extrapolating his 211 plate appearances in 2010 with the 622 plate appearances he had in 2009, though it's still worth noting that Morales was hitting home runs and knocking in runs at a greater rate than in 2009. But five doubles in a third of a season is a bit worrisome. We don't want our power hitters necessarily swinging for the fences, because it doesn't help batting average and it creates bad habits. Morales hit 43 doubles in 2009.
Eric Karabell assesses the fantasy value of Kendry Morales, who revealed this week he might not be ready for Opening Day, and also discusses Maicer Izturis, Bobby Abreu and other Angels hitters.