Kendrys Morales was the best hitter on the 2009 Angels, and on his way to duplicating that effort in 2010, until, well, you know. Much of this season, I've thought of him as slightly underperforming, not nearly a Ver-none black hole, but a hitter not worthy of unquestioned daily ABs. While he probably won't duplicate his 2009 efforts again, it still is tough to get a grasp for what he will be for this team this year and next. Since he is around the same point in this season as he was at the time of the 2010 injury, let's just look at the raw numbers, shall we?
2010- 51 games and 211 PAs. // 2012- 52 games and 189 PAs.
2010- .290/.346/.487 // 2012- .286/.328/.440
2010- 11HR, 39 RBIs, 29 runs, 31 RC in 211 PAs. // 2012- 7HR, 23 RBIs, 22 runs, 26 RC in 189 PAs.
2010- 12 BBs, 31Ks. // 2012- 11BBs, 41 Ks.
2010 WAR (with Fielding as well)- 1.6 // 2012 WAR- (no fielding)- 0.7 (Baseball-Reference)
2010 BABIP- .296 // 2012 BABIP- .333 (Career BABIP is .305)
2010 K%- 14.7% // 2012 K%- 21.7%
So, we see in about 90% of the PAs he had in 2010, his numbers are down across the board (though not drastically). He strikes out more, and is more fortunate when he makes contact. While his counting stats are down, his numbers aren't horrible wRISP. However, he does seem to press a little more wRISP nowadays.
2010 wRISP- 61 PAs, .302/.377/.585, 4 HR, 29 RBIs, 6 BBs, 7 Ks.
2012 wRISP- 53 PAs, .292/.321/.417, 1 HR, 16 RBIs, 2 BBs, 10Ks.
I don't have the time to use my employer's bandwidth to see what pitches Kendrys is chasing, but he clearly has less of a command of the strike zone this year, especially wRISP. His numbers would likely* be comparable to 2010's numbers if he hadn't been chasing as much wRISP. While I'm fine with his production (thus far) from the DH spot (we gotta worry more about Howie, Aybar, and our catchers), and while a power LH bat in the lineup is so crucial, his numbers (unlike Pujols') haven't really gotten much better over the last 30 games (OPS and SLG are up a tick, BA & OBP are down), so I wonder if this is the Kendrys of the future, or if timing, live-ML-pitching, and trust in his ankle will come back to him and he'll be more in line with 2009-2010 production.
I realize that this post may be frustrating in that I don't have a conclusion, and I don't know exactly what this means. Could Kendrys continue his comeback and improve in the 2nd half? I hope so. Could he be a .770 OPS guy the rest of his career? I hope not. Is there a better use for his lineup spot from time to time? What say you?