We had a post way back towards the beginning of the season (about 20 games in or so) comparing the three 1st baseman who the Angels had playing regularly last year (and now, this year).
At the trade deadline, regular 1st baseman Casey Kotchman was packaged with a minor league pitcher to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira.
All the while, a talented yet patient Kendry Morales was waiting in the wings, knowing his chance was soon to come.
Kotchman continues to be an everyday player for the Braves.
Tex would go on to be the starting 1st baseman for the American League All-Star team, representing the New York Yankees.
And Kendry has been everything that the Angels could have asked for and more.
Kendry may have not made the All-Star team, but he’s put up numbers that I’m certain not many people envisioned he’d put up.
Let’s get a quick refresher on the statistics from our last installment:
Casey Kotchman (25 games)-
.289 avg./.366 OBP/.398 SLG/0 HR/4 RBI/9 2B/0 3B/9 XBH/8 runs/9 BB/9 K
Mark Teixeira (22 games)
.182 avg./.354 OBP/.338 SLG/3 HR/10 RBI/3 2B/0 3B/6 XBH/12 runs/19 BB/13 K
Kendry Morales (22 games)
.280 avg./.330 OBP/.537 SLG/4 HR/ 16 RBI/7 2B/1 3B/12 XBH/13 runs/6 BB/18 K
Early on, it was Kendry who had been the most productive hitter of the 3, but with a very small sample size.
Now the sample size is a little more accurate. Each player has 85 or more games played, and with more than 320 plate appearances per player, it’s now a more accurate time to judge the former and current Angel 1st basemen.
Casey Kotchman (85 games)
.275 avg./.346 OBP/.392 SLG/.737 OPS/80 H/26 R/19 2B/0 3B/5 HR/38 RBI/24 XBH/30 BB/28 K
Since last update:
Batting average (down 14 points), on-base percentage (down 20 points), slugging percentage (down 6 points)
Kotch is stuck with an anemic offense in Atlanta, so the run-scoring and run-producing numbers are understandably down. He’s hitting at a respectable .275 mark, but can be a .300-.310 hitter when he’s at his best. Kotch has always had a fantastic eye at the plate and is a great contact hitter, and he’s continued to strike out very infrequently (about 1 strikeout every 3 games). He’s proving to be a consistent hitter (although he may not be hitting at the average that he knows he’s capable of hitting at), but Atlanta will need to make some moves to help Casey out in the lineup, otherwise he’ll just be a capable hitter in an incapable lineup.
Mark Teixeira (96 games)
.282 avg./.378 OBP/.550 SLG/.928 OPS/107 H/62 R/27 2B/0 3B/25 HR/72 RBI/52 XBH/53 BB/67 K
Since last update:
Batting average (up 100 points), on-base percentage (up 24 points), slugging percentage (up 212 points)
Big Tex really started to get into his groove when Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup for the Yankees, because let’s face it, a guy who’s posted 5 straight seasons of 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI, with 3 of those featuring a .300+ batting average, isn’t going to hit .182 over the long span of a 162 game season. I’m convinced it was all mental for him, because in New York, of course the spotlight is going to be all on the new slugging 1st baseman who signed a lucrative long-term deal in the off-season. Having A-Rod come back, while bringing his steroid controversy issue, helped take much of that spotlight off Teixeira, and put it back on Rodriguez. After that point, the Tex that baseball fans have come to know began to show up game in and game out. Slugging home runs, driving in plenty of runs, all while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. And as much as I’m still slightly bitter that Tex spurned the Angels for the Yankees… who wouldn’t love hitting in front of Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, while having Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano clean up behind you?
Kendry Morales (92 games)
.292 avg./.345 OBP/.560 OBP/.905 OPS/99 H/49 R/27 2B/2 3B/20 HR/58 RBI/49 XBH/30 BB/64 K
Since last update
Batting average (up 12 points), on-base percentage (up 15 points), slugging percentage (up 23 points)
Kendry started the season hot, and he’s continued to be hot with the bat in his hands. Most importantly, he’s been hitting for extra bases with great regularity. He’s been productive as a the #6 hitter, the #5 hitter, and even more recently due to multiple injuries, as the clean-up hitter. His 20 home runs leads the team, and he currently has the most home runs by an Angel 1st baseman since Mo Vaughn’s 36 back in 2000. He’s been clutch when they need him to be (walk-off single on May 31st vs. Seattle), and his 49 extra-base hits ties him for 4th in the American League, and ties him for 8th league-wide. These are pretty impressive numbers to begin with, let alone for a guy who’s stepping into his first season as an everyday player. His defense was the big question mark entering this season, but so far, he’s played more than adequate defense over at 1st (.993 fielding percentage, 6 errors), that is, more than adequate for what I had expected of him entering this season. Overall, “KMo” has gone above and beyond the call of duty with the bat and with the glove, and I can say he has far and away exceeded any expectations I had of him for this season.
Although Teixeira has clearly put up the better numbers to this point in the season (thanks to having a previously selected All-Star batting 1st, 2nd, 3rd (him), 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th in the lineup), as an Angel fan, we can’t focus on Teixeira. We have to focus on our guy, and our guy’s holding his own for being labeled as the guy who had to fill Mark Teixeira’s king-sized shoes.
To this point, Kendry’s got Mark beat in the batting average, slugging percentage, doubles (tied) and triples categories, and only trails Tex by 3 extra-base hits and 5 homers. Kendry has also struck out at a lesser mark than Teixeira as well.
Let’s not forget to throw in the almighty dollar figure as well.
Tex is making just about $21,000,000 this year.
Kendry’s making $1,100,000 for his services this year.
So while the Yankees are (debatably) getting what they paid for in Mark Teixeira, the Angels, you could say, are getting close to 20 times more production than what they paid for in Kendry Morales.
My vote goes to KMo fo sho!