Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Moving Up: Nyjer Morgan OF Washington Nationals

posted by Jon Williams
Outfielder Nyjer Morgan is not a player destined to be a long term fantasy star he is 29 years old and in his first season as a fulltime regular. But he does have his uses in NL-only leagues and should see a nice boost to his fantasy value after yesterday's trade that sent him from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Washington Nationals. If you own Morgan you should be very happy right now.

Morgan is batting .277/.351/.356 with two homeruns and 18 stolen bases. The Nationals plan to have Morgan play centerfield and leadoff everyday. He will be in front of a much better offense and should see a boost in his runs scored and even his RBI totals. Manny Acta tends to allow his players to run like mad which should see Morgan approach 40-50 stolen bases this season. Make no mistake, Morgan is not a efficient base stealer but unless your league penalizes for caught stealings (or you are a Nats fan), it really isn't your problem.

Morgan has the skills to take advantage of his speed. He is an excellent contact hitter. He doesn't walk much but enough to know that a pitcher has to throw around the plate to get him out. He isn't a free swinger, he waits for his pitch. He has amazing speed and may be one of the ten fastest players in MLB. He doesn't have much power and hits most pitches on the ground. But is more likely to smack the occassional homerun than a player like Juan Pierre. Just not much more likely. He is an excellent defensive outfielder which means the Nats will be ,motivated to keep him in the lineup even during mini-slumps. He is not a great player but there is also little not to like.

Morgan should be owned in all NL-only and deep leagues and in all but the shallowest of mixed leagues. Although I like his value this season, Morgan is not a very long term keeper candidate. If an owner in your league is desperate for steals I would strongly consider making an offer. Treat Morgan as you would any speed-centric player.

I am still answering the e-mails that accumulated during my computerless weekend. If you are waiting for an answer you should see it in the next day or so.


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