Cover Your Ears, Kids: Christopher Morel Is Up to Bat

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Cover Your Ears, Kids: Christopher Morel Is Up to Bat

Chicago Cubs

Christopher Morel’s path the big leagues probably took longer than it should have this season. But the 23-year-old super utility player forced the issue with an unbelievable 29 game-stretch at Triple-A Iowa to open the year (.330/.425/.730; 183 wRC+).

Somehow, Morel has managed to continue that ridiculousness over his first six games with Chicago this year: .346/.346/.846 (218 wRC+). And while the ten strikeouts in 26 plate appearances is definitely not good, at least he’s doing it with accompanying power. He’s also already notched a double and FOUR home runs in just six games.

Oh, and all four homers have been huge shots, all over 400 feet:

  • 5/09: 422 feet, 106.6 MPH
  • 5/12: 429 feet, 109.2 MPH
  • 5/14: 461 feet, 113.6 MPH
  • 5/15: 401 feet, 102.7 MPH

While we’re on it, Morel also has at least one hit in all six of his games, including three multi-hit games.

But it’s not the volume of contact I’m here to celebrate today. It’s the VOLUME of that contact. Like, it’s loud. He’s making loud contact. You gotta guard your ears when Christopher Morel steps to the plate:

OK, the volume-VOLUME thing wasn’t as clever as I thought. But seriously, Morel has hit the ball as hard as anybody on the Cubs not named Patrick Wisdom, who happens to hit the ball as hard as pretty much anybody in baseball.

“I have never seen balls hit like that — honestly,” Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger said via

Cubs Exit Velocity Leaders

  1. Patrick Wisdom: 93.9 MPH
  2. Christopher Morel: 93.1 MPH
  3. Edwin Rios: 91.9 MPH

League Average Exit Velocity: 89.0 MPH

Cubs Hard% Leaders

  1. Patrick Wisdom: 58.7%
  2. Christopher Morel: 56.3%
  3. Nelson Velázquez: 52.4%

League Average Hard%: 39.2

In addition to hitting the ball very hard, very far, very often (it’s official once you get an Obvious Shirt about your obvious power), Morel is also elevating enough to make the contact count. In fact, he’s already recorded four barrels this season, which is as many as Seiya Suzuki, Nelson Velázquez, Trey Mancini, and Eric Hosmer (all with four in many more games/plate appearances). It’s also one more than Nico Hoerner (3), and three more than Matt Mervis (1)!

But this stat is my “favorite:”

A league-average barrel rate in 2023 is 8%. So far, Christopher Morel is recording a barrel in 25% of his batted balls. That is truly NUTS.

And it’s caught the attention not only of his teammates and manager, but also of the big man upstairs. “What he’s doing right now, it’s hard to take him out of the lineup,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said pregame on Monday. “He’s hitting balls 430 the other way and making good plays at second base. And I think he’s going to move around a lot, which is great.”

While Nico Hoerner is out, it’s going to be very easy to keep giving Morel starts at second base. But even when Hoerner returns, as soon as this weekend, there’s going to be no good argument not to have Morel in there as often as possible. We’ve talked about how the Cubs can do that a bunch already. Morel can filter in at third, DH, second, and across the outfield (maybe not left field in Houston as a first assignment, though?). So the onus is on David Ross to make that happen. With a general lack of slugging when Patrick Wisdom is not in the lineup, the Cubs cannot afford to sit Morel down. He has to play almost every day.

Don’t miss the chance to win some free Cubs tickets and see/hear Morel for yourself:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami