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2023 Cubs player profiles: Christopher Morel

Twenty-first in a series. He’s been on a tear since coming back to the Show. And he almost didn’t make it. Here’s a bit of his story.

Chicago Cubs v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Christopher Morel has been on a tear since coming back to the major leagues on May 8, 2023. He’s hit five home runs and is slashing .371/.389/.857 through Wednesday’s game. May 17, 2022 was the date of his MLB debut, and you’ll remember that he smashed a long ball in his debut.

He has 21 now, in 414 at-bats over two seasons, including another one Wednesday in Houston [VIDEO].

The 23-year-old Dominican native promises to swat a few more before he is finished.

Right now, he doesn’t have a set defensive position. He’s not great at any spot but then he hasn’t had that many reps anywhere. Guys like Ben Zobrist and Mark DeRosa took some time to learn those skillsets. Christopher brings his bat, though.

And he has all the tools. Morel is possibly the fastest player on the team, has a good enough arm to take the mound, and has decent hands to catch the ball once he gets to it. He just needs time.

He’ll probably get it. Definitely will get the time if he continues to hit like he has. Yeah, he strikes out a ton. He always will. And he rarely walks at this point in his career. But he’ll hit for a decent enough average and with enough damage to make it worth having him in there.

Morel is seen as one of the ‘core’ players of the possible championship contender the Cubs would like to be, along with fellow rookie Matt Mervis, and the two of them join the Cubs’ cast of characters with high expectations that they are so far living up to.

And Morel almost didn’t make it. Jordan Bastian famously relates the story of Morel and the glass door.

“Morel lost the entire 2016 season to his rehab process, but there was a benefit behind the scenes. He was sent to the Cubs’ complex in Arizona, where he would routinely see Willson Contreras there early in the morning.

Contreras learned about Morel’s injury and made a point to check in on the young prospect when they would cross paths at the complex. A native of Venezuela, Contreras knew the obstacles facing Morel as a first-timer in the United States. And he understood Morel’s road forward would not be an easy one.

“He would give me a high-five,” Morel said. “He would ask me how I was doing, what was going on, where I was in the process. That’s where it started, how that bond formed.”

Contreras has received some well-deserved criticism, but that merits acclaim. Not every player does that in that situation. And some of his attitude has rubbed off on Morel, who plays the game with an elan that is great fun to watch.

Other players have spoken highly of that infectious personality. “What he brings to the table is amazing and well-needed,” said Patrick Wisdom. “He loves the game of baseball. He loves life. And he plays that way,” Cubs manager David Ross said.

He’s liable to keep on doing that. Thanks for reading.