This we know about Daniel Murphy – he can hit. He may have a hard time staying healthy, and the Mets may not exactly know where he should play defensively, but Murphy is going to hit. Period. Here’s a rundown of what he brings to the field.
Murphy has hit .292 during his big league career of 1,030 at-bats. During a minor league career that spans 1,002 at-bats he has hit .295. As I said, Murphy can hit. Will he bat .320 as he did last season for the Mets in 391 at-bats? Probably not. While it’s possible that he could post a .345 BABIP year after year (his 2011 mark), that’s a very high total, even if his 22 percent line drive rate does support such a number. I’d look more closely at his career .319 BABIP as a better indicator of what to expect. Murphy could use a bit more patience at the plate, his 0.58 BB/K is about a tenth better than the big league average, but he does a very good job at making contact which situates him as an ideal second place hitter.
That last sentence speaks to why I’m not more excited about Murphy heading into 2012. Though he will hit as I’ve stated, the guy has little power. After hitting 28 homers during his minor league career he’s popped only 20 long balls for the Mets. We’re basically looking at a guy who will hit .300 with 10-15 homers. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you, but he dimply doesn’t lift the ball enough (47 percent ground ball rate last season) or drive it when it does go airborne (6.3 percent HR/F ratio for his career). Again that’s fine, as long as Murphy sticks to lashing liners into the alleys. He knows his game, and as long as he maintains that understanding of his swing, he should be in good shape.
As for the speed aspect of things, that’s not something you should count on with Murphy After 313 big league games he has all of nine steals, and though he stole more bases in the minors (21 in 270 games), we’re not exactly talking about a guy who is going to do anything other than steal a base or two a month.
Given that profile, Murphy would seem to own a bat that would look awfully good if it belong to a middle infielder. Murphy has a strong bat for the second base position, and that is indeed the position that he hopes to start at in 2011. But it’s not the only position that he qualifies at in the fantasy game, and that flexibility will help to make him a wondrous play in league specific set ups. Here are his games played totals, per position, from 2011: first base (52), third base (28), second base (24), and he’s also played the outfield before as well though he didn’t in 2011. You really only want him to be your second baseman, but it’s certainly nice to have the flexibility to move him around your lineup when/if injuries strike.
Murphy is coming back off an MCL tear, but everyone around the Mets feels confident that he will be at 100 percent by opening day. The bigger question for a while was whether or not the Mets were going to move Murphy as many teams came a calling this offseason to see if Murphy would be available. Turns out the Mets plan on having Murphy start at second base for them this season. If Murphy can stay healthy long enough to appear in 140 games he could very easily post a season, minus the steals, that would make Howie Kendrick proud. Don’t overlook Murphy on draft day because of his lack of pop. In fact, use it to your advantage to grab a guy in the middle rounds would could really add something to your fantasy squad.
By Ray Flowers