How About Christopher Morel for the Home Run Derby?

I like the All-Star Game festivities a whole lot, including the game, itself. But for a long time now – maybe even since I was a kid – the Home Run Derby has been my favorite. There’s something about how it properly captures what the midsummer classic is supposed to be, at least for me. Plus it’s just really enjoyable to watch these sluggers do their thing.

To that end, and thinking ahead about whether any Cubs players could have a chance to make an appearance next month in the Derby (perhaps not likely), I enjoyed this read from Matt Snyder at CBS on his proposed participants. He tried to keep things realistic, since we know there are a lot of deserving guys who simply wouldn’t participate, but also keep it fun.

And hey, look who showed up among the eight:

Christopher Morel, Cubs

Morel leads the majors in slugging percentage if you lowered the minimum plate appearance threshold to 100. He has 13 home runs in 31 MLB games after hitting 11 in 29 Triple-A games ….

Morel had a streak earlier this season of five straight games with a home run. That’s tied for the longest this year with Soler and Nolan Arenado. Morel’s streak meant he had homered nine times in his first 12 games. He got cold, but he’s back on fire, having now hit four home runs in his last eight games.

Although you may not have thought of Morel as the prototypical slugger for a Home Run Derby, he has certainly hit dingers this year at a rate among the very best. And it’s pretty hard to imagine a guy who would be more fun to watch in the event.

I think if you were going to raise a flag on him participating, it would be that his home runs – although crushed – are generally very well-earned. That is to say, dude swings HARD. It’s not so much “easy” power from Morel as “explosive” and “violent” power. That can make for a ton of monster shots over a couple weeks’ worth of games, but I’m not sure how it would play in a derby where you’ve just gotta be swing, swing, swing, swing, swing.

Then again, the guy you think of when you think about Morel’s extreme bat speed swing is none other than Javy Báez, who hardly embarrassed himself in the 2018 derby (the one where Kyle Schwarber got hometown’d in the finally by Bryce Harper and his dad). Báez hit 16 home runs in the opening round, which is a nice total, and lost to Max Muncy by only one. It was tied for the third most homers in the opening round – just kinda some bad luck on the match-up.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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