Justin Morneau
Justin Morneau
39-Year-Old DHDH
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2020 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Justin Morneau in 2020. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the White Sox in June of 2016.
Will retire, join Twins as special assistant
DHFree Agent  
January 9, 2018
Morneau accepted a position Monday as a special assistant in the Twins front office, effectively ending his playing career, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
The 36-year-old Morneau had been hopeful to keep his career going during the 2017 season, but was unable to find an opportunity. He'll now officially hang up his cleats after 14 MLB seasons with the Twins, Pirates, Rockies and White Sox and retire with a lifetime .281/.348/.481 batting line and 247 home runs. It's no surprise that he'll choose to remain around the game as a member of the Twins organization, with whom he spent his first 11 seasons, highlighted by an AL MVP-winning campaign in 2006.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
We said goodbye to David Ortiz after the 2016 season, when he put up one of the best performances of his career. It is always good to see a player go out with a great memory, rather than see one hang on too long like we are with Morneau. The two seasons in Colorado were a perfect ending for his career, but he decided to give it another go in Chicago, and it went extremely poorly. The normally high-contact hitter couldn't make contact or hit with any power, making him only remotely valuable in the deepest of AL-only formats. Normally, when one sacrifices contact, they at least get some power gains out of it, but he got none. Father Time is winning the battle with Morneau, and he may not even break spring training with a team. The glory days pass you by in the blink of an eye.
After leading the National League in batting in 2014, Morneau couldn’t stay healthy in 2015. He suffered a concussion as well as neck injury in May and didn’t play again until September, the second time a concussion has forced him out of a long period of action. Last season marks the third time in six years that Morneau has been unable to appear in more than 81 games, and he will be 35 years old in 2016. The Rockies turned down their $9 million option on his contract for 2016 and Morneau is unlikely to find a starting gig on the free agent market. He has been a righty-masher his entire career, however — .893 OPS compared to .708 against lefties — and a lot of teams could use that kind of punch off the bench or in a platoon role at first base or DH. The question is if Morneau can stay on the field.
Morneau’s days as a full-time player appeared to be on the fritz after the 2013 season, but upon joining the Rockies, the first baseman saw his production return to a level not seen since his MVP days with the Twins. While he didn’t notice much of a recovery in the power department, Morneau was able to secure the NL batting crown with a .319 mark, aided by a career-low 10.9% strikeout rate and a .330 BABIP. The Coors Effect didn’t seem to prop up Morneau’s numbers any more than usual (.327 batting average at home, .309 on the road), suggesting there is some level of sustainability behind his resurgence. He’ll enter his age-34 season with higher expectations, and with his contract set to expire, he could represent a valuable trade chip for the rebuilding Rockies. No matter whom he suits up for, though, Morneau should remain close to an upper-tier fantasy option at his position if he doesn’t notice too swift of a correction in his superb contact rates.
While Morneau is well removed from his days as an MVP in 2006, his move to Colorado gives him plenty of fantasy value. In 2013, the first baseman hit .259/.315/.426 with 17 homers and 74 RBI for the Twins. He then struggled in a deadline deal, batting a hollow .260 with no homers and three RBI in 77 at-bats for Pittsburgh. The move from Minnesota, his home for 10-plus seasons to the NL, no doubt affected his output. It appears he's finally past the concussions which haunted him for years and with a full offseason to prepare for Coors Field, Morneau figures to put up numbers similar to those he compiled with the Twins the last couple seasons. So long as fantasy owners aren't forced to overpay for the 32-year-old first baseman, he makes for a nice lower-tier target in 2014.
After two injury plagued seasons that saw his career nearly end due to a concussion, Morneau bounced back with a relatively healthy season. However, his production at the plate did not quite match the form he had before his concussion woes as he hit just 19 home runs with a .773 OPS. With his concussion issues seemingly behind him, his bigger worry may be that all the injuries he has had the past few seasons have sapped him of his power. Morneau's wrist has become his biggest issue as he had surgery to repair a tendon in the back of his left wrist in 2011 and it was often sore last season, sending him to the DL for two weeks in May and then causing him to miss the final week of the season. In his prime, Morneau had outstanding power and good plate discipline. However, even his plate discipline has slipped. While he drew walks at a good rate (8.6 percent of plate appearances), it was much lower than the 10-14 percent walk rate of his peak years. He also struck out the most times in his career. A problem from earlier in his career also returned, as he struggled against lefties hitting just two home runs against southpaws with a .569 OPS. Still, Morneau was given a clean bill of health after the season and it is the first offseason in three years where he has not been rehabbing from a major injury. He will begin the season as Minnesota's starting first baseman, but he is a risk to be traded on the rebuilding Twins as he is in the final year of a six-year, $80 million contract.
After missing the second half of 2010 due to a concussion, Morneau returned last year but struggled at the plate amid several injuries – including a setback to his concussion symptoms that puts his career in question. He started the season slow at the plate and quickly developed health issues. He had a had a cortisone shot for a pinched nerve in his left shoulder in early May and then hurt his wrist. He went on the DL with a sprained left wrist on June 14, had neck surgery on June 29 and had a cyst removed from his left knee and a bone spur removed from his right foot on August 19. The biggest concern is that he didn't play after a relapse of concussion symptoms after he dove for a ball while paying first base on August 28. It was a routine play that raises doubt if he'll be able to play in the field again or hold up from a full season of activity even at DH. He also had offseason surgery to repair a tendon in the back of his left wrist. Even when healthy last season, Morneau wasn't the same at the plate as he slugged just .333, hit only four home runs and didn't even draw walks. Before his concussion, Morneau had outstanding power and good plate discipline. However, it's not clear he'll ever be healthy again. There's no pattern in a return from severe concussions as some players miss significant time and return to form (Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the NHL) and others can never take the field again (Corey Koskie). While the Twins have penciled Morneau in at first base for 2012, he's a major injury risk (even aside from the concussion issues) and it's possible his career could be over with another setback.
Morneau was on pace for possibly the best year of his career and another MVP award before his season ended due to a concussion on July 7. He was among the league leaders in home runs and batting average when he took a knee to the head while sliding into second base. He made several attempts to come back over the next three months but wasn't able to make it through full workouts without symptoms and eventually was shut down. After taking time off once the season ended, he started working out in the fall and says he'll be ready for spring training. Team doctors have also assured general manager Bill Smith that Morneau will be ready. However, given the unpredictable nature of concussions we won't know for sure about his health until we see him play in games again. And Morneau had faded the previous two seasons with poor second halves in part due to injury (he missed September 2009 with a back injury). When healthy, Morneau has outstanding power and good plate discipline and has improved the past two seasons against lefties. Normally that would make him a blue-chip option as Minnesota's first baseman. Instead, he's one of the biggest question marks for fantasy baseball in 2011.
Morneau was on his way to perhaps winning a second MVP award before suffering a back injury in early August that ended his season. Morneau was hitting .301/.388/.562 with 28 home runs before his season started to fall apart after Aug. 15. He hit just .100/.200/.229 after that date and later it was revealed he had a stress fracture of the L5 vertebrae in his back and his season ended in early September. He ended up hitting 30 home runs for the third time in four years despite the injury and continued to improve against left-handed pitchers (.836 OPS vs. .778 OPS in 2008) - erasing any fears he'd be benched against lefties. Morneau has good power, plate discipline and the back injury is only the second time he's been on the DL in his career. He's expected to be healthy by spring training and should once again be a top-tier fantasy first baseman.
Morneau just missed out on his second AL MVP award in three seasons, finishing second to Dustin Pedroia. He failed to hit over 30 home runs for the first time in three years (those homers instead turned into extra doubles), but hit over .300 as he continued to show great plate discipline. He also improved against left-handed pitching (.778 OPS vs. .693 in 2007) so he avoided sitting out bad matchups and played in all 163 games. He has good power, plate discipline and has been on the DL just once his career when he was hit by a pitch. He's a blue chip fantasy target as a result.
Morneau wasn't able to duplicate his MVP season but his overall numbers were pretty close. He hit over 30 home runs with over 110 RBI for a second consecutive season. There were some concerns as he seemed to take a step backward against left-handed pitching (hitting just .228/.283/.411 against southpaws), which could see him benched more often against tough lefties. He also faded in the second half of the season, hitting just .243/.318/.384 with only seven home runs after the All-Star break. Still, Morneau has outstanding power and good plate discipline, so another season of 30-plus home runs seems likely. He's a blue chip fantasy first baseman and a 40-homer season wouldn't be a shock.
Morneau had a breakout season as Minnesota's everyday first baseman. It was capped off by winning the AL MVP. He had been one of the top hitting prospects in baseball but had a disappointing 2005 season after several freak injuries. He got off to a slow start again in 2006, but turned his season around and had the best batting average in baseball (.362) after June 8. Morneau has outstanding power and good plate discipline, so his breakout season was no fluke. He also improved against left-handed pitching, hitting 13 homers against lefties, which reduces any fears he'll lose at bats against southpaws. A 40-home run season wouldn't be a surprise.
Much of the reason Minnesota failed to make the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season can be found in Morneau's struggles at the plate. Morneau was considered among the top hitting prospects in baseball before the 2005 season and thought a strong bet to become the first Twins player since 1987 to hit more than 30 home runs. Through his first six months as the full-time first baseman (July '05 to June '06) he lived up to the hype by hitting 27 home runs with 94 RBI and a .341 OBA. But he struggled by hitting just .211/.277/.397 with just 11 home runs after the All-Star break last season. Injuries were a problem as Morneau had a bizarre offseason where he fought through appendicitis, chicken pox and pneumonia. He then missed time in April after suffering a concussion while getting beaned in the head with a fastball and played most of the second half of the season with a bone spur in his left elbow. It would be easy to attribute most of his struggles to injuries, but he still hit poorly in June (.230/.318/.419) when he was his healthiest. He also struggled against left-handed pitching (.586 OPS vs. lefties) which could cause him to be platooned if he doesn't improve. Despite all the negatives, Morneau showed solid power and plate discipline before last season so he's a good bet to rebound. He'll still be the everyday starter for the Twins at first base. Write last year off to the cumulation of injuries or another year of adjusting to major league pitching and grab him this season. He'll likely go cheap in most leagues and given his upside, he could be the kind of value that propels a fantasy team into the money.
Morneau will play first base every day for the Twins after the trade of Doug Mientkiewicz. The highly-touted hitting prospect didn't disappoint after taking over the starting job in August, hitting 17 home runs in the second half of the season. After struggling at the major league level in 2003, Morneau showed he's turned the corner and should take the next step to soon become one of the AL's best at first base. With solid power and plate discipline, Morneau looks like a good bet to become the first Twin since 1987 to hit more than 30 home runs and is one of this year's strongest upside plays.
Morneau may be a nice steal in your draft if your league pays attention to his struggles at the major league level rather than his outstanding minor league numbers. Morneau tore the cover off the ball in the first half of the season, piling up 19 home runs before mid-June at Double-A and Triple-A. Once in the majors, he struggled with fastballs out of the strike zone and changeups behind in the count. If he can make the adjustment, he could start at DH for the Twins or even first base if Doug Mientkiewicz struggles or is traded. Morneau looked back on track hitting .400 with five homers and nine RBIs to help Team Canada qualify for the Olympics last fall. He's shown amazing power early in his career with solid plate discipline and should get an opportunity to win playing time in spring training. Don't let him slip by cheap as a result.
Morneau may be the best hitting prospect in the Minnesota organization, but he's at the wrong position. Not mobile enough to play the outfield and there's already a crowded crop of developing players at 1B and DH. That means Morneau may have to wait another year to get significant playing time at the major-league level, but he still has a lot of upside thanks to strong power stroke. More than likely will spend the year at Triple-A but could get a late-season call up. He could win a starting job in 2004 and eventually become 30-plus HR hitter at the major league level.
More Fantasy News
Out of lineup Saturday
DHChicago White Sox  
October 1, 2016
Morneau is out of the lineup Saturday against the Twins, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports.
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Homers in win over Rays
DHChicago White Sox  
September 26, 2016
Morneau homered and drove home three in a 2-for-3 game Monday against the Rays.
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Back in the lineup Monday
DHChicago White Sox  
September 19, 2016
Morneau (neck) is back in the lineup Monday against Kansas City, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports.
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Hopes to return Monday
DHChicago White Sox  
September 18, 2016
Morneau (neck) said he hopes to return to the lineup Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
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Sidelined again Saturday
DHChicago White Sox  
September 17, 2016
Morneau (neck) remains out of the lineup for Saturday's tilt with the Royals, Josh Vernier of 610 Sports Radio AM reports.
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