In late March, Nyjer Morgan was shipped to Milwaukee because Corey Hart was recovering from a strained oblique and the man known as "Tony Plush" seemingly had strained ties in Washington. Now, as the Brewers kidney-punch and monster-claw their way to a NL Central title, Morgan is shining in a platoon role.
Manager Ron Roenicke makes sure that the left-handed Morgan rarely steps in versus lefty pitchers: 320 of T-Plush's 361 plate appearances (89 percent) have come against right-handers. That's a smart move, considering that Morgan has a career .310 average, .362 OBP and a .402 slugging percentage against in nearly 1,400 PA versus righties but a .204/.290/.274 slash in 375 PA against lefties.
Enjoying the platoon advantage so often, Morgan has a .308/.355/.436 line with the Brew Crew. Granted, he walks about as often as he plays the quiet game (a sub-four percent rate of free passes taken), and his .370 batting average in balls in play is nearly 30 points above his career average. But he is hitting for more power against right-handed pitching, particularly on low pitches. Check out his in-play slugging percentage vs. righties in 2010 and 2011:
Morgan had a .094 Isolated Power (slugging percentage minus batting average) and zero homers against right-handers last year, but he's got a .134 ISO and four jacks in 2011.
Hitting righties and playing good D, Morgan has teamed up with Carlos Gomez and Jerry Hairston Jr. to give the Brewers a superstar-caliber Frankenplayer in center field. According to Fangraphs, Milwaukee's center fielders have around five Wins Above Replacement this season, a slightly lower total than that of Andrew McCutchen. Not that Morgan or the Brewers needed the confidence boost.