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Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: KENDRYS MORALES 1B SEATTLE MARINERS

The first thing you must be thinking after perusing the title of this post is "how is a veteran guy like Kendrys Morales a potential fantasy baseball draft sleeper?"  Well in our view, a sleeper is not only just a young pitcher or hitter who is getting ready to burst to prominence.  We also feel strongly that a sleeper could even be a veteran pitcher or hitter who is undervalued and who could supply some big time fantasy baseball value relative to their lower than it should draft spot.  Hence we bring you new Seattle Mariners 1B Kendrys Morales, who came over via trade from the Los Angeles Angels for SP Jason Vargas.  No doubt we have always had a lot of love for Morales on this site as his explosive full-season debut in 2009 won us a league title and stamped his bat as a rare slugger who could hit for power and average.  Our always positive views of Morales have never changed and they are even more optimistic now that he is out of the logjam in Los Angeles between he Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols. 

First a quick trip down memory lane.  I already mentioned that splendid 2009 season by Morales where he 34 home runs with a .306 average while driving in 108.  The live bat that was always talked about when Morales came out of Cuba was everything it was predicted to be and he had firmly stamped himself as a top fantasy baseball 1B going forward.  The encore in 2101 was off to a terrific start as well as Morales sat with 11 home runs and a .290 average as May began to wrap up.  That last home run of course was the walk-off bomb that ultimately led to one of the most fluky and unlucky injuries you will ever see.  By now you all know that Morales severely broke his leg jumping into a pile of his teammates at home plate, beginning a saga where he missed the rest of that 2010 campaign and ALL of 2011 recovering.  Once 2012 arrived, Morales was nothing but a late round pick amid questions of whether he could ever be a force in fantasy baseball terms from that point on.

Well despite not lighting the world on fire and getting clearly overshadowed by 1B/DH teammates Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo, it was a successful return to the diamond for Morales in 2012 as he hit 22 home runs and batted .273 in only 484 at-bats.  The home run rate was right where it was from his 2009 days and he would have made a run at 30 if not for the Angels strictly sitting him on the bench against lefty starters.  Thus the counting stats just were not there.  However now that Morales has been sent north to Seattle, playing time will no longer be an issue as the team plans to have him be their everyday 1B/DH and thus get the amount of full-time at-bats he needs for a run at 30-plus taters.  With his body right, Morales stands an excellent chance of doing just that and his projected middle round price tag is incredibly attractive.  This could be among the cheapest 30 home runs you can get in fantasy baseball this season and at the very least Morales is a guy who goes perfectly in your UTIL or CI slot.  The value is there to be had and the chance to now be a full-time hitter again is something that at the very least makes Morales a guy you all need to target in drafts this season.

2013 PROJECTION:  .284 27 HR 89 RBI 78 R 1 SB


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