Pirates Notebook: The classic debate

I mentioned some thoughts on the Nyjer Morgan for Lastings Milledge trade rumors Friday night. Since that point I’ve been thinking about the non-baseball aspect of the deal.

There are two opinions on the trade rumors from what I can tell. One side wants Milledge because he’s a talented player that could be an upside over Morgan if he puts it all together. The other side doesn’t want Milledge because he is considered a headcase, part of the reason why he was sent down to AAA this season from Washington.

Thus, the classic debate: would you rather have talent, or would you rather have a good guy?

I don’t mean for that to come across as a slight against Nyjer Morgan. I’m a big fan of Morgan (which mostly has come from his play this year). He’s one of the best defenders in the league. He has speed on the base paths. He hits for a decent average, although not great. He’s also a funny guy, seems to be well liked, and plays the game with an attitude you can admire.

Attitude-wise, Morgan is everything you’d want from a player on your favorite team.

Talent-wise, Morgan doesn’t exactly provide the best value for a team like the Pirates, who don’t have the most feared offense in the league.

Lastings Milledge is young, is a five tool talent, and has shown flashes of being a complete major league player. The downside is that he’s irresponsible (might be due to age, or he might be another Milton Bradley) and a bit of a headcase. You don’t really want the attitude, but any team would love the potential.

So which side wins? Talent or attitude?

In my opinion the answer is simple: attitude doesn’t win ballgames, but talent does.

So far Morgan has a career .349 on-base percentage and a .374 slugging percentage in 606 plate appearances in the majors. Milledge has a career .326 OBP and a career .400 SLG in 1004 PA in the majors.

In my opinion, those numbers for Morgan are close to his ceiling, while the numbers for Milledge are close to the floor.

Nyjer Morgan has value, but Milledge trumps that value. Milledge also has speed on the bases, has more offensive potential, and isn’t a big drop in defense (plus he may cause JR to avoid that ridiculous “Two Center Fielder” formation).

If Nyjer Morgan and Lastings Milledge were similar players, then attitude would be the deciding factor. I’m not sure I could justify attitude making up for the difference between Morgan’s value, and the potential value of Milledge.

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated through yesterday’s win. Here are today’s big impacts:

1. Freddy Sanchez: -.161 WPA
2. Eric Hinske: -.157
3. Andrew McCutchen: -.126
4. Charlie Morton: -.080
5. Delwyn Young: -.065

Prospect Watch

The Prospect Tracker is updated with tonight’s games.

-Pedro Alvarez went 0 for 1 with a walk, before exiting with a leg injury. He is day-to-day.

-Jose Tabata went 1 for 3 with a walk, raising his season average to .274 and his OBP to .377. He’s hitting .310/.451 since returning from injury.

-Gorkys Hernandez went 2 for 3. Gorkys has a five game hitting streak, and has a hit in 10 of the 12 games since Tabata has returned.

-Chase D’Arnaud went 1 for 3 with two walks. D’Arnaud has struck out at least once in all four A+ games, but has also reached base safely in all four games, giving him an early .368 OBP.

-Robbie Grossman and Tony Sanchez didn’t play in West Virginia’s game.

Other Stuff

-Pat at WHYGAVS has a good write up on Ian Snell’s minor league success. Snell struck out 17 batters in 7 innings in his first AAA start since being demoted.

-Jim at North Side Notch has declared Eric Hinske the LVP. I wouldn’t call myself a Brandon Moss fan, despite yesterday’s post saying he could be the next Nate McLouth, but I hate seeing Hinske in the lineup with Moss sitting, especially when Hinske goes 0 for 4.

-Evan at Raise the Jolly Roger has some good pics of Zack Greinke. I have to be honest. I wasn’t too horribly upset when the Pirates lost today, and that’s mostly because I have Greinke on almost every one of my fantasy teams. Now that violates some rule about how you shouldn’t root for your fantasy team over your real life team, but I don’t care. At the start of the season I pegged Zack Greinke as a breakout fantasy ace candidate, replacing last year’s breakout candidate Tim Lincecum. I also pegged Chad Billingsley and Matt Cain. Those are my boys, and when they win against the Pirates, I can’t help but feel like I won as well.

-According to Dejan Kovacevic at the PPG, Neal Huntington says the Pirates are “very close” to signing Evan Chambers and Nathan Baker. I’m guessing the announcement will come tomorrow sometime between 10 and 3, only because I’ll be golfing at that time. However, when the announcement is made, and when I hear about it, I’ll have the Draft Pick Signing Tracker updated. Neal also said the remaining guys from the top 10 (Zack Dodson, Zach Von Rosenberg, Trent Stevenson, Billy Cain, and Joseph Schoenfield) will be “tough” signs. I don’t interpret that to be “impossible” signs, and fully expected this draft to be loaded with guys who were tough to sign. I just hope we get ZVR and Cain.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Snell Dominates With 17 Strikeouts

Next Story »

Indians Hang on For Win; Bootcheck’s 14th Save

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    8 hours ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    2 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles