Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brent Morel Is Ready To Explode Or Something

As JJ over at White Sox Talk discovered today, the folks at Beyond The Box Score think that Brent Morel may be the next surprise star in baseball this season. This is because Morel's home run per fly ball hit ratio in September was insane, as Morel hit 8 of his 10 2011 home runs in September.

But why does this make Beyond The Box Score think that Morel could blow up in 2012?

Well, in 2008 Ben Zobrist had one of the highest HR/FB ratios in September (amongst non-established studs), and in 2009 he hit 27 home runs for the Rays.

In September of 2009 it was Jose Bautista amongst the greats in September. Then Bautista went out and hit 54 home runs in 2010 for Toronto.

Then there was Michael Morse who had the same kind of production in September 2010 and hit 31 homers for the Nationals last season.

In September last year, only 6 players had a better HR/FB ratio than Morel: Mike Napoli, Prince Fielder, Logan Morrison, Mark Reynolds, Pablo Sandoval and Adrian Beltre.

Because of those numbers, and the recent history, this is why the site thinks Morel could be poised to surprise a whole lot of people in 2012.

Here's what Lewis Pollis had to say at BTBS.
"There's a big sample size caveat here and I'm not suggesting that Morel's gaudy September numbers are completely indicative of a new true talent level. But a late-season swing (pun intended) as dramatic as his shouldn't necessarily be dismissed as a fluky hot streak, especially since some of his other numbers changed towards the end of the year too. It's important to remember the huge role of luck in baseball and the dangers of reading too much into small sample sizes, but surely that Zobrist, Bautista, and Morse all broke out after huge Septembers has to mean something. And besides, I hear the jury's still out on science."
Personally, I'm a bit skeptical.

While I'd love to see it happen, I just don't think it will. The biggest reason for this is because it's not like last September was the first time Brent's ever had a big September. He joined the Sox in 2010 during the final month and hit 3 home runs in 65 at bats. Not amazing production, but still a respectable performance in his first Major League go round.

Personally I think the jump in his numbers came in both Septembers because that's when rosters expand, and you're not facing the greatest competition. These are the pitchers Brent homered off of last September.
  • Brad Penny (9/3)
  • David Huff (9/8)
  • Frank Herrmann (9/8)
  • Rick Porcello (9/12)
  • David Pauley (9/12)
  • Tim Collins (9/16)
  • Chad Durbin (9/21)
  • Everett Teaford (9/24)
Of those pitchers, you have to say Rick Porcello is the only one who strikes you as above average (sorry, Brad Penny, but you know you suck) and that home run came with the White Sox trailing 14-2 at the time. They'd only lose 14-4 thanks to Brent's two solo shots in the 7th and 9th innings.

So while I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Morel explode in 2012, I wouldn't get my hopes up. He's still the guy who has hit .250/.271/.317 with 2 home runs and 22 RBI in any game played outside of September.

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