Those who have been long-time readers of ours know how we always have had a soft spot for veteran first baseman Kendrys Morales. Maybe it stems from the fact we were in on the ground level with Morales before he made it big with the Los Angeles Angels but we also stuck with the guy through his grueling two-season recovery from the devastating broken leg he suffered in a home plate pile-up after swatting a game-winning bomb. While Morales had never come close to the 34 homers he hit in 2009 for the Angels in his pre-broken leg days, what he had accomplished was to settle into being a very good value play first baseman in fantasy baseball who could hit 20-25 long balls with decent RBI numbers. That is until 2016 when Morales seemed to turn back the clock to his Los Angeles days as he reached the 30-home run mark for the first time since the broken leg (finishing right at that number for the Kansas City Royals) and in turn wound up being a terrific value yet again. Having also supplied 93 RBI, Morales did his job in terms of pure power. In digging into the numbers a bit more, Morales is becoming more and more a pure slugger as his K/9 rate of 19.4 last season was his highest in 5 years and his .263 average is down more than a little from his earlier days around .290-.300. Age has something to do with that as Morales will turn 34 in June but he has been very durable in his career outside of the broken leg. Also Morales gets a bit of a boost in moving into the launching pad that is Rogers Center after coming to an agreement on a three-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency. That makes it more likely Morales can duplicate the 30 home run uptick he put forth last season. When you break it down, those who make an investment here are getting very good contributions in two categories (RBI, HR) and that goes well enough in your UTIL or CI spot.
2017 PROJECTION: .266 26 HR 90 RBI 65 R 1 SB