Former SBNation blogger Marc Normandin has a new article on Morgan Ensberg up at Baseball Prospectus, and it's a fairly sympathetic one.
Real good stuff. I knew it was good as I was reading, because I found myself agreeing with so much of it. :-).
First thing Normandin does, even before the protected content, is remind us that Morgan had a couple years eerily similar to last year, hitting in the .230's, but OBPing close to .400, when he was in the low minors.
Morgan was at .235/.396/.463 last year, while at Auburn in 1998, he his line was .230/.388/.367. Then at Kissimmee in '99 he was at .239/.353/.412.
So, basically, Ensberg has already proven that he can remain hyper-disciplined even when his batting average ain't up to snuff. From this I infer that there's no reason to assume the OBP has to drop if the batting average doesn't rise strikingly. And from that, I take that Morgan will contribute in a positive way for 2007.
Whether Astro fans will be happy about that positive contribution, of course, is another matter entirely.
Here are some other highlights of Normandin's piece for those subscription-challenged individuals out there:
- I found it interesting that Normandin, after talking about Ensberg's disappointing 2004, went on to say that "[t]he year 2005 was a return to the real Ensberg, as he hit .283/.388/.557 for the season. . . ." Certainly debates on which Ensberg is the "real" one are common enough around here, and note well where Normandin stands on the issue.
- The authors also trots out some BIPChart breakdowns of the direction of his flies and his liners. While Normandin notes that Ensberg has increasingly pulled the ball in the air over the last three years, I myself most remember Ned Yost's statement last year that Mo was a dead pull hitter, and my taking exception to that both here and over at Brew Crew Ball. The Brew Crew Ball readers kind of stuck up for their manager, and I consider the images Normandin used to illustrate his story as vindicating me. So at least the old ego is boosted.
- Normandin also notes that Morgan walked in 20% of his plate appearances in '06, then goes on that
. . .considering Ensberg's age, a spike in his walk rate seems odd, since his bat should not be slowing down as of yet. His shoulder injury most likely slowed down his bat speed though, and forced him to take pitches he normally would have swung at; pitchers did not attempt to challenge him and take those walks away, since he did still have his power game intact.
I really don't think that the injury affected his walk rate. Thinking about that, I went ahead and looked at Ensberg's walk totals by month in the majors, and Mo set a personal record for walks in a month in April, before he was injured.
I think that Mo went into 2006 with the idea of taking more walks, as it had been something he'd been doing over the last half of '05 anyway. And Normandin's minor league numbers show that he already had the aptitude.
- Normandin reminds us that PECOTA (which doesn't know shit about shoulder injuries) projects Ensberg at .263/.374/.484. Then he goes on to say that he believes Ensberg will exceed that, and makes his prediction as .278/.390/.520 with 51 extra base hits in 506 plate appearances.
So, since Normandin has stuck his neck out, I figure we can do the same.
For Morgan, go ahead and pick:
And for his little comrade Adam on the left side please give us your best guesses at:
As before, I've gone ahead and compiled 2006 and career average stats for each player to give you a shove in the right direction.
And by all means, if you haven't taken your guesses at Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman, go ahead and do so now. Remember, it's a contest, and you could win cool stuff.