One of the biggest starts of 2011 spring training has been Washington Nationals outfielder Mike Morse who hit his eighth home run of Grapefruit League play which is the second highest total in all of Major League Baseball outside of Baltimore’s Jake Fox. Morse is thus garnering some fantasy baseball consideration from league to league and so now is a good time to figure out what he can supply this season as far as numbers are concerned and whether he can be a help overall to the owner who makes the add.
As far as Mike Morse’s history, he made his debut way back in 2005 for Seattle Mariners and put up nondescript seasons up until 2010 when he earned a career-high 266 at-bats. Morse made the most of the work however as he hit 15 home runs with 41 RBI and a .289 average. It was a nice season but nothing that lit the fantasy baseball world on fire. The home run pace was the key however as Morse was on his way to a 32 homer season based on the prorated numbers. Of course this is an overly simplistic way of analyzing what he could do but it does show you that Morse does have decent pop for a guy who is this under the radar this season.
Breaking things down a bit more, Morse has been decent against both righties (.279) and lefties (.313) throughout his career and so a solid average in the .280-.300 range is not out of the question. His one area of weakness however is strikeouts which could impact the average a bit as well. Either way Morse has made the most of his at-bats in his career to this point and now that he is getting his chance, the intrigue is justified.
One problem with the potential Mike Morse 2011 fantasy baseball breakout is the logjam in the Washington outfield. Jayson Werth is firmly entrenched in rightfield, while Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Nyjer Morgan, and Morse will have to split time in center and left. Manager Jim Riggelman hinted he would play matchups which could result in Morse missing some time. However the team is also actively shopping Morgan and so if he goes, that makes things a bit less muddied. Morse has been so good this spring that the Nationals would be crazy not to see where this goes, so its likely he gets the bulk of the starts right out of the gate. If he can carry over his hot spring into the season, than he figures to continue getting the majority of the work.
All in all, Mike Morse makes a very nice sleeper outfielder for 2011 fantasy baseball. Anyone who has this type of power has a spot in all fantasy baseball leagues and the value he supplies could be tremendous.
2011 PROJECTION: .281 BA 62 R 24 HR 83 RBI 1 SB