Despite Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn’s career years, it was arguable up to this point that centerfielder Nyjer Morgan was the team’s MVP this season.
While it may be hard to argue that someone who was with the team for two months could possibly be the teams season long most valuable player, all you have to do is look at the Nationals season to understand. Before Morgan arrived the Nationals were 22-54, since they have been 24-28. His impact was felt offensively but in large part felt as the anchor of the outfield defense. Since his arrival the Nationals have allowed less earned runs, recorded less errors, and given up less hits.
Since Morgan’s arrival he has been the equivalent of Ichiro Suzuki for the Nats. The centerfielder batted .351, on base at .393, and slugged .435 since his Nationals debut July first. He has been a stolen base machine for the Nats as well, and a non-risky one as he has stolen 22 bases and only been caught seven times.
Ichiro 2009: .359/.389/.468, 24 SB, 1 Run per 1.8 games
Morgan with Nats: .351/.393/.435, 22 SB, 1 Run per 1.4 games
While Morgan helped spark the Nationals, it appears the Nationals helped spark Morgan as well. For Pittsburgh Morgan only batted .277/.351/.356 in 71 games for the Pirates. Clearly, hitting in front of Guzman, Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham, is a bonus.
Voices from around town:
“Nobody on the Washington Nationals can run as fast as Nyjer Morgan, steal as many bases, cover as much ground in the outfield, drop down as many bunt hits, or cause as many headaches for opposing pitchers. But somehow, the Nationals now must replace their leadoff man and center fielder.” – Chico Harlan, Nationals Journal
“Nyjer Morgan’s season ends four months after Nationals season ended” -Nationals Enquirer
“When Nyjer Morgan was at the ESPN Zone last week, he was asked at least twice about his penchant for the head first slide. Emcee Charlie Slowes asked him if he wouldn't please consider the feet first variety.
"Nah, not happening," Tony Plush said. "Headfirst, I just feel like you get dirty a lot quicker," he joked.” Dan Steinberg, D.C Sports Bog