February 25, 2020

Quiet and Steady as She Goes

March 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Nationals traded Nyjer Morgan for Cutter Dykstra and during the wee hours. The move was no surprise to anyone, but some had opined that the Nationals would take almost anything to get rid of the distractions surrounding Morgan.

Dystra is not “almost anything,” but he knows a little bit about distractions. Anyone who has readMoneyball by Michael Lewis knows the behind the scenes story of Lenny Dystra and how he squeezed every ounce of performance he could from his talent. Cutter Dykstra is cut from that mold and the Nationals got a fine building block for Nyjer Morgan.

But more importantly is the subsequent story of Lenny Dysktra and the absolute disaster he made of his life after baseball. He made quick money as a small business owner and investor. He was in the public eye for his high end lifestyle, but almost as quickly as it was gone. In a story carried by every tabloid in the country, Dykstra became known more for the effects of a life of excess.  He lost it all: his money, his wife, his family, and most importantly, his good name.

Nyjer Morgan was an embarrassment to the Nationals last season on several occasions. Cutter Dykstra has seen that movie up close and on a very personal level.

Cutter Dystra was drafted in 2008 with the 54th pick in the amateur draft.  He signed for $737,000 relatively quickly and began his minor league career immediately.  There were stories in the press about what his father might do with the money, since the disaster of Lenny Dykstra was going full tilt at the time.

Cutter Dysktra began his professional career in obscurity, logging 171 at bats at the relatively low levels of the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league organization.  He hit .271 that season and worked consistently from those beginnings to hone his game.

Baseball America scouting reports described Dystra in 2008 as “a right-handed version of his dad.” The report was glowing until they described his lack of a real position, having moved from shortstop to center field. Defense became a problem for Dykstra in his second season. He hit only .212 after a promotion from short-season Helena of the Pioneer League and spent all of last season at low-A Wisconsin where he moved back to the infield, playing second base most consistently.

Back at a more comfortable position, his numbers improved dramatically in 2010. He hit .312 with an OBP of .416.  The 21-year old stole 27 bases and wherever he ends up on the diamond, it is certain that, like his father, speed and hustle are going to be the defining aspects of his game. He is likely to report to High-A Potomac to start the 2011 season for the Nationals and bolster a team there should include speedster Eury Perez as well.

Cutter Dykstra and Nyjer Morgan are very similar players. But Cutter Dykstra might counsel Nyjer Morgan on just how bad it can get when the papers get hold of your life. It is difficult to imagine the younger Dykstra wants anything to do with the more public side of the game. The Nationals traded for the un-Morgan, a gritty, speedy table-setter for the top of a future Washington lineup who wants nothing to do with the embarrassment that the spotlight can bring.

Quiet and steady and she goes, that is a more likely direction for Cutter Dykstra.

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