Why You Should Buy Now on Christopher Morel and Nolan Gorman

Trade for these two infielders before it's too late.

We’re now approaching fantasy trade season.

Really, it began in earnest when drafts wrapped up in the spring, but now with a little over two months of actual data, we’re to the point where fantasy managers have a good idea of both what they have on their roster from a strengths standpoint, and where they need to add reinforcements from a weakness standpoint.

And, we’re also at a point where some managers might be starting to lose patience with players whose surface-level stats are on the underperforming side of things and may be more apt to trade said players.

Of course, that’s all dependent on the specific manager and the specific league and a whole litany of other factors, but those types of situations can offer plenty of opportunity in terms of acquiring undervalued players who are much better than their surface-level numbers would indicate. Players who can help fill in or simply just plain start based on roster needs.

Two of the players who fit that bill to a tee and are atop the list of undervalued players to trade for – correction, they are the list – are a pair of National League Central infielders, Christopher Morel and Nolan Gorman.


Christopher Morel


Christopher Morel has, without fail, consistently made loud contact in the Majors.

His barrel rate, including this season, has never dipped below 12% in any of his two-plus Major League seasons so far. The infielder’s xwOBAcon also finished at .447 and .469 respectively in each of the last two years. What’s more, with an ability to make an impact on the basepaths, Morel has flashed plenty of fantasy upside since making his Major League debut.

He stole 10 bases (to go along with 16 home runs and the aforementioned .447 xwOBAcon) in 425 plate appearances as a rookie in 2022. Then, the 2023 season saw him club 26 home runs with an additional six stolen bases in 429 plate appearances. Add it all up and you have a player capable of fantasy superstardom, particularly with eligibility at second base, third base, and in the outfield.

The only real thing holding back Morel’s fantasy (and real-life) production in years past has been the strikeouts.


Highest Cumulative SwStr% From 2022 to 2023


Highest Cumulative K% From 2022 to 2023


The higher swing and miss numbers resulted in some of Morel’s surface-level metrics looking anywhere from decent to good, but not great despite all the loud contact.

The Cubs infielder hit .235 with a .308 on-base percentage, a .324 xwOBA, and a 108 wRC+ as a rookie before batting .247 with a .313 on-base percentage, a .343 xwOBA and a 119 wRC+ last season.

The good news? This season, he’s striking out just 21.8% of the time.

The loud contact is still there. What with a 12.6% barrel rate, a .378 xwOBA, and a .439 xwOBAcon (not to mention a 45.9% hard-hit rate), it’s just that Morel is doing so with far fewer strikeouts.

And it’s not only just the strikeouts too.

The 24-year-old has improved his plate discipline metrics considerably, dropping both his chase rate and whiff rate by notable margins while also drawing a walk 12.3% of the time.


It’s a significantly positive change for a batter who finished in the first and second percentiles, respectively, in whiff rate in his first two Major League seasons.

Want even more good news?

Morel is hitting .201 with a .310 on-base percentage in his first 248 plate appearances.

Ok, so stopping for a pause while all that positive momentum comes to a screeching halt, the low production really is good news for fantasy managers looking to acquire Morel.

Because while in the past the strikeouts were a hindrance to Morel’s productivity, the biggest hold-up now is simply a low BABIP, something that should work itself out in time given how low the BABIP is and the type of contact Morel is making at the plate.

A .209 BABIP and a .308 wOBA, when paired with the aforementioned .378 xwOBA scream nothing but positive regression. In fact, the 24-year-old is one of just 13 qualified batters to rank in the 75th percentile or better in xwOBA, bat speed, hard-hit rate, walk rate, and barrel rate.

The other 12, in no particular order, include Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Riley Greene, Gunnar Henderson, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bryce Harper, Fernando Tatis Jr., Christian Walker, Colton Cowser, Marcell Ozuna, Tyler O’Neill, and Joc Pederson.

There’s obviously plenty of impact potential there, particularly for fantasy managers with specific needs at some of those players’ respective positions. However, Morel is the only one on the list to be fantasy-eligible both in the infield and outfield. Second base, third base, corner infield, middle infield. The outfield. You can start him in all those spots.

Simply put, he’s a fantasy league winner waiting to happen.

With a .364 on-base percentage, a 13.9% barrel rate, and a 44.4% hard-hit rate since May 17, the window to acquire Morel might be starting to creep shut a bit. Now’s the time to make a move.


Nolan Gorman


Like Morel, Nolan Gorman’s surface-level stats don’t quite tell the whole story. And like Morel, the overall numbers aren’t quite as indicative of how good Gorman has been.

The Cardinals infielder is batting .235 on the season with a .320 on-base percentage, 14 home runs, and a pair of stolen bases through 206 plate appearances. He is, admittedly, striking out an even 35% of the time for the entire season, which certainly isn’t ideal. However, Gorman makes for an ideal power-hitting infield option for fantasy managers, what with a .347 xwOBA, a 17.1% barrel rate (!), and a .503 xwOBAcon.

Where he differs from his fellow National League Central infielder is that Gorman has largely put a slow start behind him. To the point that he’s back to hitting like the player who flirted with a 30 home run, 10 stolen base season before ultimately finishing with 27 home runs, seven stolen bases, a 16.5% barrel rate, and a .354 xwOBA in 464 plate appearances.


Nolan Gorman In 2024


Similar to Morel’s full-season batting average and on-base percentage numbers, there’s plenty of fantasy positives in Gorman’s slow start in the sense that it was such an unideal start (though not without positives, including a 12.5% barrel rate) that it’s, in a way, masking the torrid May and early June production the infielder has registered. So much so that a fantasy manager with Gorman on their team might still see a player mired in a reasonably slow start based purely on season-long numbers.

As you’ll notice, the strikeouts are still a factor and might be to some extent moving forward. But, the power production is too intriguing to ignore here for fantasy managers, especially for a player who’s eligible at second base and third base.


Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

One response to “Why You Should Buy Now on Christopher Morel and Nolan Gorman”

  1. Jack says:

    Just traded Bichette for Gorman. Seems Bichette doesn’t get the extra HRs now with the dead ball (again).

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