In the Progressive Field era, 18 players have posted an OBP above .500 through seven team games (min. 25 plate appearances). The other names on the list are all ones you would expect, with Morgan as the lone misfit.
|1||Jim Thome||1997||7||Ind. Games||32||21||8||11||.381||.594||.619||1.213|
|2||Carlos Santana||2013||7||Ind. Games||30||26||13||4||.500||.567||.885||1.451|
|3||Grady Sizemore||2007||7||Ind. Games||33||24||9||9||.375||.545||.917||1.462|
|4||Travis Fryman||1999||7||Ind. Games||35||29||13||5||.448||.543||.690||1.233|
|5||Sandy Alomar||1997||6||Ind. Games||27||26||14||0||.538||.538||1.231||1.769|
|6||Omar Vizquel||1999||5||Ind. Games||27||22||10||4||.455||.538||.636||1.175|
|7||David Justice||2000||7||Ind. Games||30||23||9||7||.391||.533||.696||1.229|
|8||Ellis Burks||2002||7||Ind. Games||32||27||12||5||.444||.531||.667||1.198|
|9||Travis Fryman||2000||7||Ind. Games||32||26||11||6||.423||.531||.654||1.185|
|10||Travis Hafner||2006||7||Ind. Games||32||26||11||6||.423||.531||1.038||1.570|
|11||David Justice||1997||7||Ind. Games||32||22||7||10||.318||.531||.864||1.395|
|12||Kenny Lofton||1999||7||Ind. Games||38||32||14||6||.438||.526||.750||1.276|
|13||Kenny Lofton||1994||6||Ind. Games||25||20||8||5||.400||.520||.650||1.170|
|14||Nyjer Morgan||2014||6||Ind. Games||27||18||7||6||.389||.520||.389||.909|
|15||Manny Ramirez||1995||7||Ind. Games||33||28||12||4||.429||.500||.929||1.429|
|16||Omar Vizquel||1998||5||Ind. Games||24||21||9||3||.429||.500||.524||1.024|
|17||Jim Thome||1999||7||Ind. Games||36||27||9||9||.333||.500||.667||1.167|
|18||Jim Thome||1995||7||Ind. Games||28||21||7||6||.333||.500||.476||.976|
What’s shocking about Morgan’s performance is that he’s already walked six times (22 percent of his total plate appearances). In 2012, Morgan walked just 20 times in 122 games for the Brewers (six percent of plate appearances).
Morgan has always been a capable hitter, which led to him being considering a fairly strong prospect coming up through the Pirates organization. But his lack of patience at the plate was always his downfall.
From 2009 through 2011–Morgan’s best stretch in the majors–he posted an OBP of .347 despite walking in just 6.4 percent of his plate appearances (99 walks in 1,539 opportunities). Out of 391 qualifying players, Morgan’s walk rate was the 89th lowest in the majors during that span.
So while it would be easy to chalk Morgans hot start up to being a fluke, there’s legitimate reason to think he may have finally changed his approach at the plate.
If you include spring training, Morgan has walked in 17 percent of plate appearances this season. During the 2013 season, only Joey Votto walked at a higher rate than Morgan’s current pace.
Obviously a continued .500 OBP is an unrealistic expectation, but it’s certainly possible that Morgan has made a legitimate adjustment to his approach at the plate which will lead to sustained success.
If he’s able to maintain his eye at the plate, Tony Plush is here to stay.