Over the winter, the Angels lost out on a bidding war to retain Mark Teixeira and watched him end up in pinstripes. In order to fill the hole on their offense, they gave their first base job to… Mark Teixeira?
Tex, 2009: .280/.380/.541, .392 wOBA, +4.0 wins
Kendry Morales, 2009: .314/.355/.597, .398 wOBA, +3.8 wins
Morales doesn’t have the same style of production as T-Rex, but in terms of overall value, the Angels have essentially matched what the Yankees got from Teixeira, and they did it with a guy who was viewed as a bust coming into the season. It wasn’t like Morales was a guy with projections all over the map, either – CHONE had him as a .327 wOBA guy, ZIPS at .325.
This is, of course, way out of line with anything Morales had done before. These are better numbers than he put up in Triple-A last year, when he posted a .387 wOBA. The main difference has been the power, where Morales is posting a .287 ISO, tied fort he seventh highest mark in baseball. That’s 120 points higher than the projections had him at, and really the only area where he’s exceeding what we should have expected by any large margin.
Power is one of those things that stabilizes fairly quickly, however, so while there are examples of Brady Anderson style flukes, we have to assume that our previous beliefs about how much thunder exists in Morales’ bat were wrong. It’s really, really hard to luck your way into 69 extra base hits in 506 plate appearances.
ZIPS still projects a pretty heavy regression for Morales going forward, as his rest-of-season projection has his ISO dropping to .202 – 40 points better than the preseason projectoin, but 80 points lower than his current ISO. But the projections have changed enough that, given what we know right now, we can say the Angels certainly made the right choice in letting Teixeira go and replacing him with Morales. Given their relative price and performance, Morales is the clear choice.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.