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Daniel Murphy 2It’s been going on for over a year now, but the multitude of man-crushes heaped upon Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy still perplexes me. There is, of course, the website ohmurph.com, which has apparently decided to take it up a notch and literally sniff the inside of Murphy’s cleats.

But it’s not just these guys. Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com, which is probably the best place to go to gauge the opinions of the average Mets fan, will not give up on Murphy. Yesterday, Cerrone wrote (italics and lack of caps his):

i think, with protection in the lineup, and a more stable season, using what he’s learned and lived through this year, murphy can hit above .280 with at least 30 doubles

I have several issues with this mindset. For one, Murphy is on pace to hit 34 doubles already this year, so he’s already hit one of those qualifiers and we’re still not happy with his performance. He’s also on pace to have 510 ABs, which means that for him to bat over .280, he would have had to have roughly 145 hits. So assuming that he won’t magically become speedier and start racking up triples, in Cerrone’s estimation (he also thinks Murphy can hit 15HRs), Mets fans can hope for 232 total bases (92 from singles, 68 from doubles, 12 from triples, and  60 from HRs). Over 510 ABs, that’s a .454 slugging percentage… which would be “good” enough for 20th among the 24 qualified first basemen in 2009.

Daniel MurphyWhat about OBP in this instance? If he maintains his current walk rate of 7.5% as well as his HBP and sac fly numbers, that would still only give him a .334 OBP, which is 22nd among the 24 qualified first basemen. And what if I were to assume that his walk rate will improve to say 8.5%? That’s a .346 OBP (21st out of 24).

So really, even in this possible-but-optimistic scenario, Daniel Murphy would still be among the worst regular first basemen in baseball. And it’s not like his minor league numbers were good enough to project him as an average first baseman so his current performance is really what you’d expect against superior pitching. He can potentially give you numbers that would be quite good if he were a middle infielder. Problem is, he’s not. He wasn’t able to handle third base in the minors so they moved him to left. He couldn’t cut it there either so they moved him to first and now he has nowhere else to go.

Despite their troubles, perhaps the best thing that the Mets have going for themselves is the abundance of talent at premium positions. With third base (Wright), shortstop (Reyes) and centerfield (Beltran) all manned by potential All-Stars, the Mets have a distinct advantage over many teams that would kill to have that nucleus. But by running guys like Murphy, Jeff Francoeur, and Angel Pagan out there to play positions typically fielded by the best hitters that MLB has, they give that advantage right back. I’m not saying that the Mets need Albert Pujols. But if they’re serious about winning in 2010, they should have someone better than Daniel Murphy at first.

14 Responses to “Stop the Mancrush on Daniel Murphy”

  1. Isn’t this the same old story, that Murphy is white, and kinda short, and underskilled, so everyone loves him?

  2. Agreed. But I think you are missing the biggest qualifier here. D-Murph is white and white guys love white guys.

  3. I also personally think that guys love knowing someone they can call “Murph”. At one Mets game I attended a few weeks ago, Cory Sullivan was also in the lineup. A guy sitting in front of me kept saying “Murph and Sully” all game long.

  4. Murph and Sully and Frenchy. What a team!

  5. These comments are full of racism. lovely.

    Your positional argument doesn’t hold a ton of sway. It doesn’t matter how he compares to the other first baseman in the league. It’s not a fantasy situation here. Sure, throwing money and prospects at everyone to get an All-Star at every position is the best way to make the team awesome, but that’s not what’s going to happen. Getting a slugging LF is much more important, because unless you pull off some trade and give up prospects, the upgrade from Pagan->Bay/Holliday/Crawford…. is much better than Murphy->whats available. You also need a catcher (and a backup) and I assume they’re going with Francoeur based on his couple of weeks, but he’s not exactly a great player either.

  6. Not quite sure how you can construe this as a case of racism. I don’t think it’s any secret that we as human beings like to cheer for guys we can relate to. Murphy is a white dude with a medium build, which seems to describe a good chunk of the baseball watching public. I’m Japanese, and therefore probably think too highly of Japanese players. It’s the way many of us are. I mean, we’re not color-blind, you know.

    And I hate the argument “it’s not a fantasy situation”. It means nothing. What is important is that you put nine guys on the field who can win roughly 60% of the games. And if you can’t do that, then you have a problem. Murphy at first makes this difficult.

    You also overrate what Jason Bay can do. Sure, he’s a superior hitter. But I wouldn’t want him anywhere near LF in Citi Field. The man can’t field his position for his life. He’ll give up a lot of the runs he helped create. Problem is, major league salaries are still weighted heavily on offensive contributions. So to get Bay, you’d have to sign him to a overvalued deal that will bite you in the ass.

    Improving on catching is incredibly difficult and there are very few guys out there who can impact the W-L column very much.

    What makes you think that Carl Crawford is even available? He still has an option that Tampa could very well exercise.

    And here’s another question for you – while I don’t disagree that the Mets have other holes, why are you saying that Murphy is the one who shouldn’t be replaced? Why is he immune?

  7. Ceetar is right about one thing — there aren’t any decent 1B options available on the free agent market. Unless you consider Adam LaRoche decent. And I don’t.

    Maybe the Mets should sign Eric Hinske. His teams always make the playoffs (or they have since 2007).

  8. Facebook User says:

    Bear in mind that Murphy can supposedly play second base. Cerrone suggests the Mets may try to find a taker for Luis Castillo in favor of Orlando Hudson, but it might make more sense to replace him with Murphy and devote that money to seeking more power at first.

  9. Facebook User (whomever you may be), Murphy can’t play second base. They toyed with the idea during winter ball last year but he got hurt and the entire idea was scrapped. But if he couldn’t hack it as a third baseman or left fielder, I see no reason to think that he could play second, which is a more demanding position.

  10. As a Phillies fan, the only thing I’d rather see than Murphy at first base is Murphy at second base.

  11. Coley, as a Phillies fan, I think it’s probably time to start worrying more about the Marlins and the Braves for 2010 than the Mets.

  12. Nick, I’m not worried about the Mets. But I can still bask in their crapitude.

  13. I am a little worried about the Marlins catching the Phillies before the year is out. I realize it’s a mostly irrational fear, since a five game lead is pretty solid with only three weeks to go. But last night’s Phillies game was such a back breaker. The Phils were down 8-2 entering the ninth inning, but roared back to score four runs on a Matt Stairs grand slam (Stairs hadn’t had a hit since June), and they drew w/in one when The Flying Hawaiin doubled in J-Ro. It was amazing. But just as extra innings seemed like a real possibility — a runner on third with one out and Ryan Howard at the plate — Howard bounced into a game ending double play. Oy, that hurt.

  14. comn.. you gotta admit the sniffing the cleats is funny

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