Thursday, May 20, 2010

Who do we get today? Tony Plush or Nyjer Morgan.

Yesterday's two remarkable situations in the Nationals game both involved Nyjer Morgan:
  • The first inside-the-park home run at Nats Park

  • An unusual (and questionable) triple play

The inside-the-park home run was certainly a result of shotty fielding. When a player is at his home park, he should know how far he is from the wall at all times. Nyjer should have known that the hit by Angel Pagan wasn't going over the wall and relayed it in to keep Pagan to a triple. But he didn't.

This is only the most recent of mistakes by Nyjer in the field. He has overthrown cutoff men. He has as many errors this year (3) as he had all of last season with the Pirates and the Nats. That's tied for worst among enter fielders in the NL with Andrew McCutchen (PIT). He's also 25th out of 26 in fielding percentage among NL center fielders. Both dismal stats, indeed.

Then, there is the baserunning. And those of us that watch the team on a daily basis know, it's been pretty awful so far. Morgan started out hot, stealing his way from 1st to 2nd and then 2nd to 3rd in the same at bat. And then the other team figured him out. I don't know if they're reading signs or just know when he runs, but they know at least half the time.

In 16 attempts this year, Nyjer has only successfully stolen a base 8 times. That's a wasted baserunner more often than not. I know that Nyjer is probably the fastest guy the Nats have (maybe Bernadina?), but he hasn't figured out how to make that speed into smart decisionmaking. I'd like to say it looks like Riggleman has put up the stop sign for now, but Morgan has attempted stealing 4 times in the last 10 games, and was caught twice. These are not quality numbers for your fastest player.

His at bats have been so-so lately, but certainly better than his fielding and baserunning numbers. Morgan is swinging a bat of ice, batting just .162 in his last 10 games. Not exactly the numbers you're looking for from a leadoff guy. To give him his due credit, he has a respectable .351 OBP in that same 10 game span. So he's getting on base, but getting thrown out in too many chances to advance on his speed.

In a conversation with my very good friend Craig at Jim Bowden's Segway, I complained about Nyjer's regular attempts to bunt for hits. I am regularly frustrated by his lack of willingness to swing the bat, while Craig supports the efforts if it will get Nyjer on base and turned into Tony Plush once again. What are your thoughts, blogosphere?

1 comment:

  1. i think if he picks his spots with the bunt its a good plan, but he is also a threat to hit a double or triple against almost any righty. rigs, eckstein and tplush should have a game plan every game...facing the cardinals with yadier molina, hit away, stay away from bunts and steals. but up against a team with a catcher who plays defense poorly, put pressure on him with the bunt and the running game...