After Framber Valdez buried a pair of cutters to put him down 0-2 in the count, Christopher Morel could have mailed in his fourth-inning at-bat. Instead, he collected himself and battled back, launching a mammoth home run that cleared the left-field seats at Minute Maid Park, bringing the Cubs back from an 0-4 deficit to tie the game up, 4-4.
Cubs haven’t capitalized on Christopher Morel’s scorching hot start
The bullpen faltered late and Chicago’s bats couldn’t get anything done against Houston relievers, sending the Cubs to their sixth loss in their last 10 games and ninth loss in 14 May contests. But the story was, once again, Morel’s performance.
“What he’s doing right now, it’s hard to take him out of the lineup. 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.”
– Jed Hoyer
In six games since being promoted from Triple-A Iowa, Morel boasts a 1.192 OPS and has racked up 0.6 bWAR in a week, driven largely by impressive power at the plate (five of his nine hits have gone for extra bases entering action on Tuesday).
He’s going to draw Javier Baez comparisons as long as he’s in Chicago given his proclivity for the theatrics and his strikeout-prone style of play. But expecting Morel to be an MVP-level talent is a tough bar to set for a 23-year-old rookie looking to establish himself at the major league level.
Still, he has that same fire and intensity El Mago was known for during his Cubs career and there’s something to be said for that passion and what that brings to the clubhouse. With Nico Hoerner nearing a return, how David Ross finds ways to keep Morel in the lineup regularly will be interesting; but while the Cubs are flailing a bit, this kid has shown he’s ready to be a sparkplug for this team.