Some people reading this headline may be surprised. However a close look at statistics make it clear that Daniel Murphy has been the best player on the New York Mets. There are many things that Murphy does well for this team.
This also could be some justification for the anger that many had about his missing the beginning of the season due to the birth of his son. Yes the criticism was out of line but had Murphy been there, perhaps the Mets would have started their season on a higher note.
First he is remarkably durable and is able to play and play well day in and day out. Last year he missed only one game the whole season.
Defensively, some have considered him a below average second baseman, however it is clear that he is capable of making the simple plays as well as having a flair for the incredible at times. Despite this apparent weakness, he does hold an impressive fielding percentage of .979 this season.
However, Murphy’s true value is on the offensive side of the ball. To start, Murphy leads the team in batting average this season at .315. He is a career .292. hitter in the major leagues so he has shown that he can hit consistently. Murphy currently leads the team in hits with 52.
That batting average goes up in clutch positions. Murphy hits .344 with runners in scoring position helping him to accrue 17 RBI so far this season as a #2 hitter.
And it’s not like Murphy is a slap singles hitter either. He has 16 extra-base hits including 12 doubles, which leads the team, and three home runs, which is tied for third, giving him a slugging percentage of .455. Of course he is not known for his power but ability to use all fields aids in his ability to be a productive hitter and exploit defensive weaknesses.
Murphy also has surprising speed. He has nine stolen bases this season while only being caught twice. He recently ended a streak of 26 consecutive successful steals. This has enabled him to get into scoring position helping him to be second in the team with 27 runs.
In short Murphy is one of the most complete players on a young team and plays a very important role. In addition to setting the table for sluggers such as David Wright or Curtis Granderson, he has had success in driving in base runners such as Travis d’Arnaud or Eric Young Jr. who had been on base in front of him. Combine this with consistency and solid fielding and you end up with a very important but perhaps under appreciated player. Everyone knows David Wright when they think of the Mets but Daniel Murphy is equally important as both a contributor and a leader.
If the Mets are going to bounce back this year, and continue to play well in the future, Murphy needs to continue his consistent production, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
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