Rising Apple Player of the Week: Daniel Murphy

By Matt Musico

The Rising Apple staff will choose one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If  you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us (@RisingAppleBlog) or make a comment on Facebook.

In a landslide, Daniel Murphy has won Rising Apple Player of the Week honors with his big week at the plate. Rightfully so, since it seems as though I’ve been talking about said hot streak continuously since his two-homer game at Wrigley Field. Since landing in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers, then coming home to take on the Phillies, Murphy has shown his aggressiveness, not walking once in his last 27 at-bats, but compiling a .444 batting average with 11 RBI. He’s enjoyed four multi-hit games, with the highlight being his

four-hit performance in the series opener against Philadelphia. He’s registered at least one hit in every game this week, except for going hitless in one at-bat last Sunday at Chavez Ravine.

On Wednesday, I talked about Murphy’s resurgence coming at the right time, and I’m sure Terry Collins could agree with that. These last 13 games for New York before the All-Star break included four against the Dodgers, six against the Cubs, and three opposing the Phillies. After playing eight straight series against teams with over a .500 record, it was crucial for Collins’ club to not have a letdown going into the break and to get healthy off the lesser teams in the league (besides the Dodgers, obviously). We hear it all the time; good teams play .500 ball on the road, then take care of business at home. The Mets have done that all year, going 20-20 away from Citi Field, and 25-18 in their backyard. What has been the key lately? It has been the consistency of Murphy and Ruben Tejada stabilizing the field up the middle, as well as the top of the lineup.

There have been so many players occupying the second base and shortstop positions due to injuries and slumps that it’s been that much sweeter for Collins to run out his Opening Day starters on a nightly basis recently. While Murph was struggling, it was understandable that he was being moved around in the lineup to try and get him going without sacrificing the flow of the offense, but if this week wasn’t enough proof, let me say this: the second spot in the order should only be occupied by Daniel Murphy for the rest of the season. He’s the epitome of what a two-hole hitter is supposed to be; he has a little pop, but mainly gets on base and has a propensity for hitting the ball in the gaps, immediately putting himself in scoring position for the heart of the order. Speed at the top is great, but when those players don’t hit (yes, Andres Torres, here’s looking at you), speed becomes worthless.

This week has been an enjoyable one for Daniel Murphy, as he’s been able to play his game more relaxed now that he’s contributing to the bottom line, which always makes a player feel better.

Honorable Mentions: The return of Ruben Tejada to the lineup was long anticipated, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed. Tejada has risen his average a full 30 points over the last week with a .448 average, including four multi-hit games, and eight runs scored, mostly coming out of the lead-off spot. Also, David Wright‘s two-homer, nine-RBI effort to help the Mets take two of three from the Phillies can’t be overlooked either.