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 Post subject: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 12:56 am 
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I don't know why the Pirates have Nyjer Morgan play 80' off the left field line. Supposedly, they were doing so because the notch in left-center in PNC Park is conducive to extra base hits, but Morgan was playing way over in left center agains the Nationals, so the PNC Park notch cannot explain the positioning.

Morgan's position turned Guzman's double into a triple and led to their run. Morgan also failed to catch a fly ball to the warning track in left field in a game against the Rockies (during Capps' implosion). That is a double that should have been an out and a triple that should have been a double.

Can anyone recall Morgan cutting off a ball headed to left center due to his positioning? I don't recall seeing that, and hope that Morgan plays in a position where he can get to balls down the LF line in time to hold the hitter to a double. He is never going to cut off balls (like he did last year) and hold batters to a single, unless he moves way over towards LF.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:07 am 
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I've wondered why Morgan is so far from the LF line myself. He did make a running catch tonight though, on a ball headed towards the LF corner.

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:23 am 
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I've wondered that also. It isn't like Nate is a slow center fielder.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 8:39 am 
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Bucfan wrote:

Can anyone recall Morgan cutting off a ball headed to left center due to his positioning?...


Yes, from his position. What are you questioning with this post? Nyger and all positions are set based on the stat tendancies of each hitter and the pitcher. I suspect Nyger's speed and Nate's abilities are considered as well.

Nyger's play of the double to triple the other day was not a result of positioning, but a result of his often-bad line to the ball.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 6:08 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
What are you questioning with this post? ZM

His defensive positioning. Hence, the title of the post.

ZelieMike wrote:
Nyger and all positions are set based on the stat tendancies of each hitter and the pitcher. ZM

That is not true, as Morgan is 80' off the LF line for all hitters, be they left-handed pull hitters (okay, makes some sense) or right-handed power guys like Zimmerman.

The Pirates do not appear to move Morgan 40' from the line for player A, 50' for player B, etc. He is off the line by a ton for all players.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:16 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Bucfan wrote:

Can anyone recall Morgan cutting off a ball headed to left center due to his positioning?...


Yes, from his position. What are you questioning with this post? Nyger and all positions are set based on the stat tendancies of each hitter and the pitcher. I suspect Nyger's speed and Nate's abilities are considered as well.

Nyger's play of the double to triple the other day was not a result of positioning, but a result of his often-bad line to the ball.

ZM

It's more than just stats. They even talked about it the other day pregame with Nate I think it was. Something to do with management stating that by playing him in left center they cut off the gap to the notch and a double down the line is going to be a double anyway. Not sure I agree since Morgan takes a picnic lunch to go get a ball in the corner.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 11:02 pm 
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Ohio_PiratesFan wrote:
It's more than just stats. They even talked about it the other day pregame with Nate I think it was. Something to do with management stating that by playing him in left center they cut off the gap to the notch and a double down the line is going to be a double anyway.

And a ball in the gap is going to be a double anyway as well. How does that explain moving way over into the gap and giving up the line? And oh yeah, a ball down the line is now a triple candidate and will NEVER be cut off. Last year, Morgan cut off quite a few headed down the line and held the batter to a single.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 9:41 am 
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Bucfan wrote:

The Pirates do not appear to move Morgan 40' from the line for player A, 50' for player B, etc. He is off the line by a ton for all players.


For Pete's sake, you make this sound like a little leaguer going to his "brown spot" in LF, and you know that is not the case. It also flies in the face of printed interviews in the PPG with both NH and Russell where they specifically pointed out how they determine defensive positioning.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 9:56 am 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Bucfan wrote:

The Pirates do not appear to move Morgan 40' from the line for player A, 50' for player B, etc. He is off the line by a ton for all players.


For Pete's sake, you make this sound like a little leaguer going to his "brown spot" in LF, and you know that is not the case. It also flies in the face of printed interviews in the PPG with both NH and Russell where they specifically pointed out how they determine defensive positioning.

ZM


ZM-

I know you watch the games, so I'm not going to suggest that you don't, but Nyjer is shaded far towards CF for EVERY. SINGLE. BATTER. I don't care what is in the printed interviews, that's what is happening. It may be that the Pirates have determined far more balls go to the gaps than down the line, so they'll sacrifice a few hits in one direction to take away a few in the other.

But I have what might be an even simpler solution, and it comes from my own experience playing the outfield. I normally pitched and played second base, but occasionally played OF, where my jumps and routes were almost as bad as NyMo's. I found it far easier, however, to judge a ball in reference to something like the foul line or edge of the field (usually chain link fences in my case, the stands in NyMo's). It may just be that given his deficiencies in route running and reading balls, he is better going into the corner than he is going towards center, so he is shifted towards center to take "advantage" of that. I believe Wehner mentioned something to that effect earlier in the season as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 10:02 am 
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Oh, I know he plays to center. I am not questioning that. I am pointing out that if he is, its not because, as implied, he walks to "his spot" and stands there, but because the coaching staff has a reason for it.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 3:00 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Oh, I know he plays to center. I am not questioning that. I am pointing out that if he is, its not because, as implied, he walks to "his spot" and stands there, but because the coaching staff has a reason for it.

ZM

Almost all bad decisions are based on some reason. Morgan's positioning in left-center gives up lot of the field. He is so far off the line that routine fly balls to the track down the left field line are very difficult to reach; any ball within 20' of the left field line is at least a double and potentially a triple.

This positioning is not based up batter tendencies, since as discussed, from what I have noticed on televised games, Morgan is well over towards left-center on every hitter.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 3:24 pm 
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At the risk of being taken to Bucfan's wood shed for a comeuppance...

My observatrions are that I can count on one hand -minus the thumb and forefinger, that Bucfan's scenario of down line extra bases has occurred. Sure, its a lot of ground to cover, for the average LF. But, Nyger's speed is not average. I've also witnessed a number of line drives to left, left center that I thought were sure singles, that he has been in position to reach for outs. And, again, it does take away the gap in LC, especially in PNC.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 8:28 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
My observatrions are that I can count on one hand -minus the thumb and forefinger, that Bucfan's scenario of down line extra bases has occurred. Sure, its a lot of ground to cover, for the average LF. But, Nyger's speed is not average. I've also witnessed a number of line drives to left, left center that I thought were sure singles, that he has been in position to reach for outs. And, again, it does take away the gap in LC, especially in PNC.

ZM

So it has nothing to do with "batter tendency" or the notch in PNC Park? In other words, Morgan is well off the line for every hitter, in every park?

If so, then the decision to put him that far off the line is not a good idea defensively. Singles to short left field near the line are doubles, singles to left with a runner on second are not going to allow a throw home to challenge the runner, any line drive single to left within 40' of the line is a double, and any ball down the line is a potential triple - guaranteeing that a runner on first scores.

I am just wondering how many times Pirate fans recall seeing Morgan cut a ball off that was headed for the left-center field gap due to his positioning. I can name two instances from memory where his positioning cost the Pirates - the double against Capps that landed on the warning track in left field in the game against Colorado, where Morgan was two steps away from catching the ball on the fly and would have caught it easily had he been in normal position in LF, and the triple to Guzman on what would be no more than a double if Morgan is in left field.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:52 am 
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Bucfan wrote:
So it has nothing to do with "batter tendency" or the notch in PNC Park? In other words, Morgan is well off the line for every hitter, in every park?


Didn't say that at all, and am quite surprised at your persistance in trying to be black and white. By your definition, maybe we should get rid of the bench coach, the guy from BA and maybe Perry Hill, too. Because, we don't need any insight on defensive positioning, just run Nyger, and whomever, out to their little brown spot on the field, right?!

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I am just wondering how many times Pirate fans recall seeing Morgan cut a ball off that was headed for the left-center field gap due to his positioning. I can name two instances from memory where his positioning cost the Pirates - the double against Capps that landed on the warning track in left field in the game against Colorado, where Morgan was two steps away from catching the ball on the fly and would have caught it easily had he been in normal position in LF, and the triple to Guzman on what would be no more than a double if Morgan is in left field.



So, you've given two whole instances where Nyger's positioning hurt. One against a Colorado lefty who went way to opposite field. I did point out a number of times that Nyger's positioning cut off a hit though. I also pointed out earlier that the triple had nothing to do with positioning, and everything to do with Nyger's route (lack of) to the ball.



ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:12 am 
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Another drawback to Nyjer playing left center instead of left field. His arm. Anything hit anywhere near the line in left is going to be a double if the other team has been paying attention to his throwing. He's got a very weak arm...fielding any ball to his right...he's going to have to turn his body 180 degrees before throwing...and he won't be able to plant very well. As long as the batter's name isn't Paulino or Molina...anything significantly toward the left field line is going to be 2 bases.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Well, add another XB hit down the line costing us a run.....


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 1:55 am 
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I really hope we see an end to Morgan 80' off the line really, really soon. I was pondering this point today, and thought that we need to reach one of two conclusions about the Morgan defense issue:

(1) John Russell has reached a defensive epiphone, not derived by any baseball manager in the 133 years of professional ball before 2009, and not duplicated by any other manager in the majors - or the minors, as far as I am aware - in the history of the game; or

(2) He is using something that is not a good idea, explaining why nobody else has ever done it before and why nobody is imitating the idea currently.


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:37 am 
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Definitely cost the Bucs a run tonight on what would've been a routine fly ball.

This is purely comical at this point. Would it not be fair to say that, if basing this decision on Morgan's speed, that he could still cut off the left center gap if he is playing straight up? Not to mention they have a centerfielder with above average speed as well. It really is beyond ridiculous...


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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:52 am 
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It's obvious that Nate (All Star CF) is not fast enough or good enough to cover CF......so the Pirates are playing Morgan in CF also to help out Nate...... :roll:

umm.......LF you ask?

Even though Morgan can't reach anything in LF, it is so much fun to watch him run don't ya think? Look at him go! Boy he's really fast! Look at him get to that single-double-triple in LF. Look at him go!

Vroooooooooooooommmmmmmm!

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 Post subject: Re: Nyjer Morgan's defensive positioning
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:12 pm 
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I'm not sure what this adds to the debate and anyone (like me) who reads DK's blog faithfully probably already read this but here's a link that is relevant to the discussion:

http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs ... 52709.aspx

Several of the points raised in this "post" are why I am generally skeptical of defensive statistical measures. A lot more comes into play than the stats could ever hope to measure.

And, for what it is worth, the defensive positioning strategy is tied very closely with how a game is "called" (whether you believe that it is done by the catcher or the pitcher). As noted in the "post," Kerrigan believes in pitching to certain areas for each particular hitter. The game should be "called" to take advantage of not only the hitter's weaknesses but also to best take advantage of how your defense is positioned and how it is going to react.

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