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News Roundup: More on Nyjer Morgan

Washington Nationals promote acting general manager Mike Rizzo to full-time GM - ESPN
The Nationals have made Mike Rizzo their full-time GM, which I think could be interesting. He had an excellent reputation as a scouting director, but his moves since becoming interim GM of the Nats raise plenty of questions about what he'll do for the franchise. The Nyjer Morgan / Lastings Milledge deal was, from the Nats' perspective, bizarre; yes, Morgan has been great for them, but what business does the worst team in baseball have trading a young guy with upside (Milledge) for a 29-year-old in the midst of a career season? What will that deal have done for the Nats by the time they're ready to contend, if they ever are? Clearly that trade has worked for the Nationals so far, but in terms of what should be their long-range goals, it was really a perverse move.

Reds Place Willy Taveras on DL, Call Up Drew Stubbs - MLB Daily Dish
Speaking of Morgan, I wrote a little about Willy Taveras and Drew Stubbs for MLB Daily Dish yesterday. What often happens with guys like Morgan and Taveras who don't hit for power or draw walks but can run fast is that a lot of their value, or lack thereof, comes from their batting average, which fluctuates more year to year than things like home run rate or walk rate. So in years when they have good batting averages, like Morgan does this year, everyone praises them as catalysts and talks about how great they are, even if their OPSes are only around .750.

In years when they have worse batting averages than usual, as Taveras does this year, they're an enormous drain on their offenses. Taveras hit .251 last year and .238 this year and hasn't put up an OPS above .604 in either year, because there's been nothing to sustain him.

Michael Bourn's last two seasons are another great example. Bourn batted .229 last year and was one of the worst full-time players in baseball; this year he's hitting .291 and suddenly he's the sparkplug the Astros have always wanted.

Nyjer is having a great season this year and I don't mean to dismiss that, but right now he's hitting .312. He's hitting .368 with the Nationals, but that's coming from a utterly unsustainable .425 average on balls in play. Will he ever hit for that high of an average again? And if he doesn't, then what will the Nats have? I don't mean to keep attacking a player who's in the midst of a great season, isn't even with the Pirates anymore, and is having a much better year than I ever thought possible. He's proven me wrong so far; more power to him. I just wonder what the Nats were thinking when they acquired him. Yes, the trade looks good for them now, but how will it look in three years, when they can hope to finally be relevant?

Bucco Justin Wilson Video Recap
Tim Williams has a bunch of video of Justin Wilson's last start for Lynchburg. Wilson, the Pirates' 5th-round pick in 2008, had a poor start to the season but has pitched much better since then, posting a 1.06 ERA and striking out a batter per inning in August. He also has a 6.57 ERA before the break and a 2.45 ERA after. Having him start his pro career at Lynchburg was an aggressive assignment, so it's possible he's just now beginning to learn the things he needs to take the next step.