Thursday, May 03, 2012

Nyjer Morgan or Norichika Aoki

Long-time reader and long-time commenter Zucchini Boy asks:
Who do you like better for the rest of the season, Nyjer Morgan or Norichika Aoki?
Nyjer Morgan is off to an incredibly bad start. His traditional stat line (57 AB, 10 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 SB, 4 R, .175 BA) stinks, while his wOBA would be 2nd worst in the Majors if he qualified.

Norichika Aoki has done pretty well, but only has 26 at bats on the season. At bat for at bat he has been better than Morgan, but in the short term it doesn't seem that the Brewers are simply going to throw Morgan overboard.

The real answer to the question is probably Carlos Gomez. Gomez has put up much better numbers (1/5/5/8/.292 in 48 AB) than Morgan and is the player who will eventually steal time from Morgan if Morgan continues to stink on ice. While Morgan and Gomez have pretty much been in a straight platoon, I suspect that Gomez would eventually morph into a full-time player.

If the Brewers decide to cut ties with Morgan, could Aoki replace Morgan as the left-handed hitting side of the platoon?

I suppose. I suspect, though, that the Brewers view Aoki as a 4th outfielder and not a starter. I don't have any particular insights into what would happen if the Brewers did cut Morgan, but my hunch is that Gomez would initially get more playing time. That situation might not last. Gomez is still swinging like a madman and I don't see any evidence that his lower K% thus far is anything more than a product of luck, but as long as Gomez is getting results and providing good glove work, he'll be the guy they send out there on a regular basis if the Brewers go this route.

It's a tough answer to hear, but in N.L.-only leagues I would stick with Morgan if I didn't have some obvious option on reserve (Bryce Harper in your farm system, for example). Every day at bats are hard to come by in only leagues and if you put any kind of investment into Morgan you probably should ride him out until the bitter end. While his average non-keeper salary of $10 isn't a huge chunk of change, it does make it hard to simply decide that you're going to give up on him for the sake of picking up a part-timer in the free agent pool. If Morgan doesn't turn it around it's a sunk cost, but better to make sure it's a sunk cost in an only league than to cut him only to see him produce results for another owner.

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