Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Morgan takes lead in CF competition

For the first time in what seems like ages, Nyjer Morgan hit a home run today.

With the three run circuit clout, Morgan has muscled his way back atop the CF depth chart in the eyes of this blog.

It isn't just one home run that has set Morgan apart from his counterparts and temporary rivals, Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel, it is a combination of things that has given him the slight edge in the three way horse race.

1. Morgan has shown the ability to get on base at a higher clip than Bernadina or Ankiel
Career OBP - Morgan .344 / Bernadina .306 / Ankiel .312 (.316 as pure hitter)

2. Last year, Morgan saw a drop in BABIP that severely deviated from the norm (.304 in 2010, .357 from 2007-2009). With the expected uptick in BABIP in 2011, Morgan should see a substantial increase in OBP.

3. Morgan avoids strikeouts at a much higher rate than Bernadina and Ankiel.
Career K rate - Morgan 17.1% / Bernadina 23.3% / Ankiel 27.1%

While there is still nearly two weeks left of games for Morgan, Bernadina and Ankiel to battle it out; as long as Morgan does not suffer another slump like he endured at the beginning of Spring Training, Center Field is his to lose.


  1. Personally, I'm hoping that the once-every-three seasons homer that Morgan had yesterday does NOT cloud the judgement of the decision makers, because I'm convinced that Bernadina is the right solution in center field. Posted here:

    OBP: Morgan's career OBP may be .344 but in 2010 it was merely .319. Which is a better representation of his capabilities? Because his performance so far in spring training indicates he is not regaining his career capabilities. Meanwhile Bernadina's dropoff in August took his season OBP from .324 to .307.

    BABIP: MLB average is in the .290-.300 range; Morgan's has always been artificially inflated b/c he gets so many bunt base hits. Does the drop-off last year mean he's worse at bunting or has the league taken that away from him? Because if its the latter, he's closer to being obsolete than a top-notch table setter.

    K rates: Bernadina's minor league career K rates are about the same; no great improvement here. But I'll take increased K rates for a guy who can regularly hit it out of the park, versus a 17% rate for a guy with a LOWER slugging percentage than on base percentage in 2010.

    (note i'm not even considering Ankiel for this job; he's clearly a 4th OF to me).

    I guess what it comes down to is a similar question for both players. Is Morgan going to be 2010 Morgan or 2009 Morgan? And, is Bernadina going to be September/2010 Bernadina or July-August/2010 Bernadina?

  2. YAY Nyjer! Best of the Nationals!