In every family, there is the forgotten child. The one who doesn’t feel as loved as the others, the one who needs to yell for attention, the one who is under-appreciated. But when you talk to the rest of the family and ask about that child, they will respond “he/she is a part of our family, gosh dangit!” I feel like in the eyes of Mets fans, Daniel Murphy is that child. They all know in the back of their minds that Murph is a good player, a valuable player, but nobody seems willing to say that too loudly.
Well I’m not going to be that writer. I’m here to scream quite loudly (so to speak) that Daniel Murphy is an important part of this team and should be a part of this team for a long time.
Let’s look at the numbers first. Murphy is batting .299 on the season, good for second-best of the guys currently not on the disabled list and third-best if you want to throw Ike Davis‘s .302 in there. Before anybody questions that, Murphy has the third most at-bats on the team this season, behind only Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. More importantly than the average are what he is doing with the at-bats. With runners in scoring position, Murphy is batting .333 with 18 RBI’s. Not only is he hitting, he is hitting when it counts, something the Mets have seriously lacked in previous seasons.
But what I truly love about Murph is watching him in the field. Our darling Keith Hernandez likes to point out whenever he can that Murphy has a lot of learning to do in his fundamentals. Maybe he does, but there is not a guy out there who plays harder on every ground ball, every pop-out and every line drive than Murphy does. He knows he needs to get better, but he also tries to get better.
What makes him so valuable though, is his versatility. He reminds me of Joe McEwing, but a more valuable and a more polished hitter. I’ve heard experts and such say that Murphy shouldn’t be moved around, he should be left to learn a single position and excel in it. I disagree. Look at the big injuries the Mets have faced this season alone. Ike Davis, David Wright and Jason Bay have all spent some time on the disabled list. Guess who has played at least one game at 1B, 3B and LF? Yup, that would be Murph. More importantly, if the Mets decide it’s time to send David Wright away, guess who can fill the gap left at 3B? Murph. If the Mets decide Justin Turner would be a better long term fit at 3B, well Murph can just slide to 2B.
For those who complain that moving him too much will make him a liability in the field wherever he goes, again I disagree. In 333 total chances so far this season in the field, Murphy has committed only three errors. Remember, this is a guy who has started at least a game at five different positions. By comparison, Jose Reyes in 276 total chances, has committed eight errors. David Wright, an accomplished third baseman, also has three errors just in 91 chances. Angel Pagan has three errors in the outfield in 106 chances. I think you get my point.
This season now makes three in a row that the Mets have been bitten seriously by the injury bug. I don’t think it can be put into words how important it is to have a versatile guy like Murphy on your roster when guys are going down left and right around him. I’m not sure where Murphy’s future lies on a team with a good amount of young talent like the Mets, but if I am Sandy Alderson I am doing everything I possibly can to find a roster spot for him. Daniel Murphy loves the Mets, and the Mets and their fans should love Daniel Murphy as well.