The long and short of Morel

Last Thursday, Brent Morel took questions on a conference call with White Sox bloggers.  Answering a question about his Arizona Fall League season, he mentioned that he had been playing in an instructional league before getting the call to replace Dayan Viciedo, and he had played a couple of positions in order to play every day.
That’s worth noting, because against Syracuse tonight, Morel played shortstop.  That’s the first non-third-base position he’s played as a pro, not counting one game as a designated hitter in Birmingham.
That might not be a huge deal, because Josh Fields played short at Charlotte in a couple games due to injuries around the rest of the team.
Looking at the lineup, injuries don’t seem to be the reason. More likely, it could be a way to keep Dayan Viciedo warm at third while keeping Morel’s bat in the lineup.
There’s an outside chance they’re trying to give Morel regular reps at more than one position, but he’s hitting .133/.170/.156 over 45 at-bats thus far.  If he were hitting .290/.350/.430, maybe the Sox would start to see how they could shoehorn him into the major-league roster, but it seems like he’s got enough on his plate right now.
Plus, if they really wanted to get him to the majors, they’d keep him at third.  Mark Teahen will still be out for a few more weeks, so the hot corner is the thinnest spot.
Add it all up, and I’m guessing tonight was more about Viciedo than Morel. He said that he’s strictly a third baseman and hasn’t been told any differently, and I wouldn’t think anything’s happened to change people’s minds in the days since.  But it’s worth keeping an eye on as we go forward.
Other interesting notes from the conference call:
*On what he’s heard from Williams: In a meeting during spring training, Morel said, “Whenver I’m ready to play, he’s not going to be shy in calling me up.  He said ‘Whenever you’re ready, we’re going to make room for you.  Don’t worry about this and that and guys in front of you and contracts. If you’re ready to play, you’re gonna play.'”
*On the difference between Double-A and Triple-A pitching: Double-A pitchers have better stuff, but Triple-A pitchers have “better control, better idea on how to get guys out.”
“On his glove: “They seem really pleased with me defensively right now.  Defensively, I’m ready to play in the big leagues.”
*On the Birmingham hitting environment: “It’s one of the bigger fields I’ve played at in the minor leagues… Balls kind of hang up in the outfield and get caught in the gaps. You’re not going to hit too many home runs there, but the infield plays pretty quick.”
*On Daniel Hudson: “He’s getting ahead with his fastball and spotting it really good.  He’s got a lot of life on that thing, he’s low-to-mid-90s pretty consistently.  He can throw his little slider to righties whenever he wants, 2-1, 1-1, and has a really good changeup.  He looks pretty flawless right now.”
*Jon Heyman adds what he knows about the Williams-Ozzie Guillen flap:

One person who’s familiar with the skirmishes between White Sox general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen said even before their latest blowup, “Kenny would like to fire him if he could.” Of course, club owner Jerry Reinsdorf is such a loyal leader it would be just about impossible to fire Guillen. According to people in the know, Guillen simply doesn’t take direction well — no surprise there. The latest blowup, as first reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, was over Guillen’s dissatisfaction with the $50,000 offer the White Sox made to his son Ozney, whom they drafted in the 22nd round. Like a lot of parents, Ozzie figured his son was a top-10 round talent. Of course, logically, the other 29 teams passed through 21 rounds, so it made no sense to take it out on Williams. Ozzie’s other son Oney quit his do-nothing job already (officially, he was a video coordinator, but people around the team say he didn’t do very much of anything) under pressure after he tweeted inappropriate opinions about White Sox players. This is getting ugly.

But maybe there’s an olive branch in the offing, as Joe Cowley tweeted tonight:

“Here’s some interesting news: Seems like Ken Williams is ready to play nice with Oz and is going on the road trip to Pitt and D.C.  It will be Williams’ first road trip of the year.”

I’d hope so.  It’s beyond embarrassing.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Oral Sox has a new podcast, and I’m on it.  I think we ended up talking Sox for twice as long as we actually recorded, and it was fun hearing Adam and Jeff argue about Juan Pierre right in front of my very ears.
*Cowley talks to Greg Walker, Sox whisperer:

”We left spring and went to Atlanta, and everyone banged out hits,” Walker said. ”We were like, ‘OK, yeah, everyone is coming together, we’re playing loose.’ Then the first game of the season, ‘Yeah, we’re rocking and rolling.’ Then we throw out two bad games, and I looked around the bench and was like, ‘God, everyone is in panic mode in the third game of the season.’

*J.J. says the Sox have built a framework for a turnaround, but any hopes rest on Carlos Quentin, and that’s not good.
*U-God at South Side Sox previews the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Minor league roundup:

  • Charlotte 4, Syracuse 2
    • Tyler Flowers hit his 12th homer of the year. He also struck out once.
    • Dayan Viciedo doubled, homered and struck out over four at-bats.
    • Brent Morel went 0-for-3 while playing short.
    • Jordan Danks also went 0-for-3, but all three came via the strikeout.
    • Lucas Harrell allowed one run on six hits and four walks over six innings, striking out one.
  • Birmingham 4, Montgomery 2
    • Brandon Hynick limited the damage to a two-run homer over six innings. He allowed seven hits and a walk while striking out four.
    • Christian Marrero went 0-for-2 with a walk and a sac fly.
    • C.J. Retherford went 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
  • Delmarva 1, Kannapolis 0
    • Justin Collop pitched six shutout innings, striking out five while allowing just four hits and two walks.
    • Brady Shoemaker went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
    • Nick Ciolli went 1-for-3; Miguel Gonzalez 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
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Morels upside with the bat leaves a lot to be desired but if he can at least transfer some contact skills to go with his defense at 3rd he’s worth a look as a stopgap; considering the only player on the major league roster that actually hacks it defensively at 3rd is a 43 year old natural ss with no bat anyways.
And keeping Viciedo warm at 3rd is news to me. Hes playing at the hot corner again? Is 3rd base the new center field?


I thought the Sox had already given up on Viciedo at 3rd base. He was a butcher there and was moved to 1st. Maybe they are still searching for a position for him, or here comes our next DH!!


Also someone get greg walker a muzzle.
People don’t go to shrinks to get advice on hitting (although that kills two birds with one stone in quentins case) yet why in the world is a mental update on our lineup all we hear out of walkers mouth?!
I can understand the misguided loyalty angle but for the love of god move him around the org and give him something like oneys old job. You know, getting paid to do nothing.


Because at the major league level these guys should know more about the mechanics of their own swing than Walker could ever know. They should know what hiccups and tweaks get their swing into the the sweet spot. Walker’s job is not about fixing swings, although it can be. His job is more about preparing the team to face that night’s pitcher. And to help batters work through what they are doing in their swing and help them find an approach that will be successful, which is all mental. I think Walker fails miserably at preparing our hitters, but I’m told that statistics put the Sox right at average. I don’t know how to verify that statement. But I don’t think he fails at talking to a hitter about his approach at the plate. Or how he’s swinging. I just don’t think he gets any credit because he’s essentially a sounding board for someone who already knows how to hit, but is just going thru a slump or a difficult time. I don’t think the value he supplies in that role is unique, so I don’t feel that you’d get any improvement in that aspect from replacing him, but you might find someone who’d prepare the Sox hitters a little better.