Justin Morneau and Franklin Morales are representing the Colorado Rockies on the MLB team that is currently in Japan playing a series against the Japanese National Team.
Right now, there is a team of MLB “All-Stars” getting their tails kicked by the Japanese National team. At issue has been a lack of offense for the MLB stars and the fact that pitchers like Chris Capuano and our old buddy Franklin Morales are considered “all-stars” in this context.
Morales is joined by Justin Morneau as players wearing a Rockies’ cap in these games. While Franklin has done his usual, double-digit-ERA worthy work, Morneau has provided pop for a lineup that has otherwise lacked it.
Morneau has two home runs and six driven in for the MLB All-Stars in the series. This included a breakout game on Sunday as the MLB team finally got a win. As Bryan Kilpatrick at Purple Row and others have noted, that means that Morneau is providing the bulk of the offense for a team that includes Yasiel Puig, Evan Longoria, and Jose Altuve.
Here is the video of Morneau’s three-run shot this weekend:
Morneau surely will not bat .319 or win another batting title next season, but what if his power goes up a tick? This was clearly the first season in a while where Morneau felt like himself, so perhaps we will see something closer to the elite power he used to offer with the predictable batting average regression that is coming.
Morneau hit 17 home runs last year. Could you imagine a world in which he bats closer to .280 but hits 20-22 home runs in 2015? That would be a perfectly fine trade-off. The Japan Series is a small sample in a non-traditional setting, but the flashes of power still give us cause to wonder what we will see from Morneau next season.
These games might be way under the radar and they might not mean anything, but darn it if it’s not great to see a player in a Rockies uniform in action. Something to get you through a couple days of the cold winter.