Cubs would be right to have Christopher Morel open the year at Triple-A
Woo, boy. Cubs fans sure love to love a guy who plays with passion and has big moments early on. That's always been the case and the latest proof can be found in the reactions to the rumblings Christopher Morel could open the 2023 season at Triple-A Iowa.
Look, nobody will soon forget Morel going yard in his first big league at-bat, bringing Wrigley Field into a frenzy last May. The energy he played with all year long was something we, as a fanbase, had missed since the Cubs traded Javier Baez to the Mets back in July 2021. But the long and short of it is the league adjusted to him and once it did, he really struggled against MLB pitching.
Cubs fans need to understand how much Christopher Morel struggled
In the second half, Morel slashed .194/.269/.376 - and, while it's still very early in the spring, it's been more of the same in Cactus League action. He's struck out in half of his 12 plate appearances and given the Cubs' roster makeup, a stint with Iowa isn't the worst idea in the world.
Even in Jordan Bastian's preview of a potential Opening Day roster over at cubs.com, Morel didn't make the cut. It's clear to anyone who watches him on a regular basis - or watched him down the stretch in 2022 - that he's got some major adjustments to make at the plate. A whiff rate that ranked in the bottom 1 percent of hitters paired with a strikeout rate in the bottom 4 percent is just about all the evidence you need to back that claim up.
As the summer wore on, Morel wore down. Over the final two months of the season, he batted just .183. That's not going to get the job done, especially on a Cubs team that has an outside chance of sneaking into the postseason via the expanded wild card field. You just can't trot out a guy with holes like this in his swing on a daily basis and expect success.
The best thing for both the organization and Morel, who at just 23 may very well have a long-term role to play for the Cubs, is to let him work on his game while playing everyday at Triple-A Iowa. We might miss his energy as a fan, but we'll be thankful down the road when he's back in Chicago and not whiffing in a third of his at-bats.