WHAT can the Mets expect from Daniel Murphy this season?
Having watched him throughout the early days of Spring Training, you can see that Manuel is priming him to play everyday. He is reading the ball well off the bat in left field and taking good routes to flyballs hit his way. His swing looks level and compact and he is running the basepaths well, going first to third when the chance arrives. He’s also looking to shoot it the other way and I can see him being a mini version of a five tool guy because he has average pop and speed and he hits for average.
Let’s see what different sites have to say about his chances of success at Citi Field…
441 ABs, 10HRs, 64rbi, 8SB, 41 BBs, 72Ks, .270 avg
221 ABs, 4HR, 28rbi, 2SB, 29BBs, 45Ks, .287 avg
11HR, 63rbi, 3SB, .283 avg
456 ABs, 14HR, 73rbi, 14SB, 53BBs, 67Ks, .294 avg
The uncertainty surrounding his playing time is perfectly encapsulated here, with projections showing anything from 221 at bats to more than twice that number and 139 games played.
At the top end of the projections is Fan Graphs (Bill James) who sees him as a regular left fielder. With more at bats comes more counting stats, and this site suggests he is right on the cusp of a 15-15 season, something which the ESPN site predicts if he can get regular playing time.
The ESPN report, although not predicting a set amount of plate appearances, suggests similar numbers to the Baseball Projections website but with less speed, while Baseball Guru believes Murphy will be the left-handed bat in a platoon.
So where do I sit within these numbers?
Well unsurprisingly, it’s on the fence, in the middle of them all. I think he will beat out Tatis for the job in left and that his minor league ABs at 3B and 2B will prove to be irrelevant. I think 440 at bats is pretty realistic and 12 home runs isn’t too much of a reach at all considering he has average power.
He is only 23 years old, so there is still room to grow and I expect more contact and fewer whiffs than many expect. I read on Baseball Prospectus that he is not a .300 hitter and I agree with that. But assuming his walk rate is similar to what he has proved at a lower level there is nothing to say he won’t swipe a dozen bags.
Fan Graph’s .294 seems a little high for me, but he’s only a few big league adjustments from that being the back end of his upside. If you scale down Fan Graph’s projections a few games, I don’t think it’s a million miles from the truth.
As for Baseball Guru – well, that seems to be a million miles from everything. As a Mets fan, I hope they’re proved wrong.