Christopher Morel Among MLB Elite in Terms of Speed, Power Combo

Christopher Morel has been nothing short of a revelation for the Cubs this season, injecting energy and enthusiasm into a team that has had fans feeling far too little of either. His 1.0 fWAR is sixth on the team despite accumulating just 208 plate appearances, his eight home runs are tied for third, and his seven steals are tied for the team lead. That combination of speed and power is obvious to anyone who watches him play, but advanced metrics tell us Morel is among baseball’s elite in that regard.

The 23-year-old ranks 27th out of 257 qualified hitters in terms of barrels per plate appearance (9.1%) and he’s 18th in barrels per batted-ball event (15.4%). Morel is tied for 30th among 475 MLBers with an average sprint speed of 29.1 feet per second, making him the fastest Cub by just a hair over Nico Hoerner (29 ft/sec) and Seiya Suzuki (28.7 ft/sec).

As Sarah Langs tweeted Tuesday, Morel is one of only five players in MLB to rank in the 90th percentile in both barrel percentage and sprint speed. That’s, uh, pretty solid company. All four of the other players on that list are among the top 25 in fWAR, and they’ve all had more experience than Morel to this point.

This certainly doesn’t mean Morel will blossom into a superstar next year or later, though his tools will make it easier for him to adjust and remain productive in the future. Just consider how he came out of a recent slump that had even the most optimistic among us thinking a little time at Triple-A might not be the worst thing. As we start thinking more and more about who’s part of the next Cubs’ core, it’s impossible to overlook Morel.

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