Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Roundtable: Looking Back at The Morgan-Hanrahan Trade

On June 30th, the Bucs sent outfielder Nyjer Morgan and reliever Sean Burnett to the Nats in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan.

Nearly one month later, the guys at Front Row Fantasy Sports (myself, Dalton Scantling, and Christian Karcole) look back at this deal (mainly because we have all have a man-crush on Nyjer Morgan) and briefly analyze the winner, and each player involved.

Nick Allen:

Well, the one player that really sticks out in this trade is Nyjer Morgan. Since getting traded to the Nationals, Morgan is batting .394 with one home run, and 13 stolen bases. He is now batting .304 on the season with 56 runs, three home runs, 34 RBI, and 31 stolen bases.

Morgan has been solid all year, and is on a tear with the Nationals, right now he is the most productive player in this deal.

Fantasy Spin: Morgan is a great addition to any fantasy team especially roto. He can hit for average and has very good speed. Morgan should be owned in all leagues while he is producing like this.

The other player that came to the Nationals, Sean Burnett, has been pretty impressive in his minor role with the club. In his first game with the team he allowed a home run, since then he has not allowed a single run. His stat line with the Nats looks like this: 10.1 innings pitched, with nine strikeouts, and an ERA of 0.87.

Fantasy Spin: Burnett has extremely small fantasy relevance, but could be worth a pick-up in a very deep NL only league.

Lastings Milledge has yet to make his Pirates debut, and is currently playing in Triple-A where he is 19 for 56 with a .339 batting clip, three stolen bases, and six RBI, in 16 games.

Whenever called up, Milledge could be a nice addition to the Pirates outfield, but I'm going to have to see him perform highly at the major league level before I'm buying into anything.

Fantasy Spin: Milledge has no fantasy value while playing in the minors, obviously, but if he keeps playing the way he is down their, it will be hard for the Bucs to not call him up. Keep an eye on his status.

Joel Hanrahan is in a similar position as Sean Burnett, they both encompass minor roles within their respective teams. Hanrahan has more upside though, if anything happens to Matt Capps, he has a good shot at taking over the closers role.

Fantasy Spin: Hanrahan should be owned in deep leagues at this point, but if Matt Capps struggles, gets injured, or even traded, Hanrahan has a good shot at taking over the closers role.

I think the Nationals got the better end of this deal for now, everything could change based solely on how Lastings Milledge performs in the MLB when given the opportunity.

Dalton Scantling:

The Pirates got Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals.

Milledge started off the year terribly with the Nats and was sent down to Triple-A to try to fix his swing. Since being traded he seems to have found his stroke.

He’s hitting .339 for Indianapolis and it’s only a matter of time before he gets called up. His power numbers are down, but he’s making up for that with the very high average.

Whenever he gets called up he should make an impact for the Pirates.

The second player the Pirates got, Joel Hanrahan, is a good relief pitcher that’s a little inconsistent at times. He has an ERA of 6.70, but since coming over to Pittsburgh he has an ERA of just 3.00.

On the other side of the trade the Nationals got Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett.

Nyjer has been the best player in the deal so far. He is second in the NL with 31 stolen bases and is hitting over .300. Since coming over to Washington he is hitting an outstanding .394. He has also been caught stealing 31% of the time compared to 56% of the time while with the Pirates.

The other player the Nationals received in the deal was Sean Burnett. He has been great since coming over. He has given up just one run and sports a 0.87 ERA with the Nationals.

That one run he gave up did give him a blown save, but he has been rock solid since then. In his last nine innings pitched, he’s given up just three hits and no runs.

I think the Washington Nationals were the winners of this deal. Both Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett are doing more than what was expected of them. If Lastings Milledge doesn’t come up to the big leagues and produce the Pirates ownership will take a hit for this trade.

Christian Karcole:

Nearly one month ago, when Nyjer Morgan was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Washington Nationals in a four-player deal, nobody expected him to produce like he has. After moving from a last place team (the Pirates), to the worst place team (the Nationals), Morgan has actually seen an upturn in production. A huge upturn, that is.

His .394 batting average with the lowly Nationals ranks fourth in the majors for the month of July, while his 13 stolen bases in the month ranks first. Also, Morgan's 35 hits this month rank sixth in the majors.

As a lead off hitter for the worst team in baseball, you can't expect much else from Morgan. His stellar average, stolen bases, and hits should be enough to prove how well the 29-year old is playing.

Along with Morgan, the Pirates sent left-handed reliever Sean Burnett to the Nats. With his new club, Burnett has posted a 0.87 ERA with nine strikeouts in 10.1 innings. He could eventually make a case as the Nationals' future closer if Mike MacDougal proves himself unfit for the role.

In return, the Nationals sent troubled outfielder Lastings Milledge and inconsistent reliever Joel Hanrahan. Milledge, who has been up-and-down between the majors and the minors over the course of his career, has yet to appear in a game for the Pirates. Hanrahan has made a slight impact with the Pirates, as he has gone nine innings so far while striking out 10 batters. His ERA with the Pirates stands at a solid 3.00.

Overall, who ends up as the winner of the deal? Obviously, it has to be the Washington Nationals. They received a stud outfielder and a young, extremely solid reliever, and only gave up an above average reliever and an outfielder who has yet to make his mark on the field wherever he has played.

When this deal was completed, most questioned its intent and whether there was a point in either team trading who they did. Both teams exchanged an outfielder and a reliever. At the time, it appeared to be a toss-up who the winner would end up as. Now, just a month after the exchange took place, the Nationals are the clear winners (for a change).

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