Brent Morel: Aggressive and Selective Morel Could Be Big for Chicago White Sox
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
The Chicago White Sox saw two Brent Morels in 2011. One was a polarizing player throughout last summer; the other was a guy I could see manning third base for 10 years.
Morel's first full-time exposure to the big leagues saw him eventually play 126 games. For the season, he hit. 245 with 10 homers. These are numbers that, taken at face value, were acceptable in my eyes for a team that was supposed to be getting their offensive production from a host of other places.
Before last season I wrote the following about Morel:
If the race is tight this season, will Guillen stick with a third baseman hitting .235 with three or four homers at the all-star break? Even if Morel is playing defense at a high level?
If the White Sox want to anoint Morel the incumbent at third, that's fine with me. He definitely has the long-term potential to hold down the hot corner. I just hope Chicago is prepared to stick with Morel as he learns his big-league lessons.
Morel began the season as the starter after a respectable spring training, then posted a homer-less April with a .203 average. He was used sparingly in May as Mark Teahen and Omar Vizquel were used with more regularity, but by the All-Star break, Morel was getting the majority of the playing time at third.
His numbers? A .244 average with a May 17 homer and 15 RBI. Morel had drawn three walks in the first three-and-a-half months.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Ozzie Guillen did stick with Morel. That was helped along by Teahen being traded to Toronto and Vizquel not overwhelming with the bat. Morel remained a light-hitting, bottom-of-the-order guy until September arrived, when he made a change in his approach at the plate.
Here's what Morel told CSNChicago.com's J.J. Stankevitz last month:
"I was just caught up trying to put the ball in play and just kinda move guys over and do that kind of stuff," Morel said of his April-August approach. "Toward the end, I relaxed a little bit and was more selective and patient up there. That helped me out."
Morel got more selective, drawing 15 September walks compared to the seven he had up until that point. At the same time, he was more aggressive at the dish, pulling the ball with a lot more regularity and hitting eight homers that month. His average did dip to .224 for the last month of the season, but he also drove in 19 of his 41 runs in that span.
Much was said of Morel's glove entering the season. He was fourth among American League third basemen with 14 errors, but he also was fourth in assists. His advanced fielding numbers suggest a slightly below-average defensive campaign, but he was more than serviceable on defense.
Morel expects to be able to build on his breakout month, as told to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com:
"I was a little disappointed, more with just my mental approach to the game, trying not to mess up, make the team, be on the team and really got caught up in being that good defense third baseman and living with it,” Morel said. “[In September] I really just got selfish and aggressive, putting time in and developing an approach. So I will just carry that over the next year.”
That's easier said than done—just ask Gordon Beckham. Still, as a young player with the confidence that he is going to have a full-time spot in the lineup, a better start can certainly be expected.
Morel figures to be the starter heading into 2012 and should be able to use spring training to hone his new approach at the plate. Having Robin Ventura's Gold Glove experience should also be a benefit.
If the new skipper can have a similar effect on Morel to what Vizquel had on Alexei Ramirez, Morel could develop into a premier player at the hot corner. For now, a .250 season with 15 to 20 homers could be seen as another step in Morel's development.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?