Thoughts on Justin Morneau
On May 11, 2006, I wrote an article about how Justin Morneau had been rather disappointing so far, and asking if there was still hope for him to turn into the hitter that everyone expected. At the time I wrote that article, Morneau was hitting just .227 with a .298 OBP. . .his SLG was good at .473, but his batting average and on-base skills were weak.
Morneau remained mired in the .230-.240/.290-.300 range until early June, when he went on a super tear. On June 8th, his season numbers were .235/.295/.444. A month later, on July 8th, he had raised his season line to .301/.353/.591.
He maintained that sort of production the rest of the year, finishing at .321/.375/.559 with 130 RBI and an MVP award in his pocket.
The award itself is generating a lot of controversy. The Derek Jeter and Yankee partisans are up in arms, of course. And even on the Twins, you can make a strong case that Morneau wasn't as valuable to his team as Johan Santana or Joe Mauer. But no one is going to take Morneau's award away, and even if you disagree with it, he is undoubtedly one of the best young hitters in the game. His season is even more incredible when you realize that he didn't hit much at all before mid-June. When I wrote that negative piece about Morneau in May, it made sense...now it looks simply silly.