In his fourth full big league season, Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy finally fulfilled his fantasy promised and delivered great value to his owners. Likely drafted in the last two rounds or simply left as waiver wire fodder, Murphy ended the year as the league’s fourth best fantasy player at the pivot.
When Murphy had his showcase in 2008, the left-handed hitter didn’t really show us exactly what was to come. Murphy struck out at a league average rate while walking at a much higher one, and an inflated BABIP led to a fantastic .313/.397/.473 batting line and plenty of hype.
The next season didn’t go so great for Murphy, but he showed us all who he really was. If not for a .284 BABIP, Murphy would have been an average — or perhaps even better — big league hitter, but his numbers weren’t exactly acceptable for a first baseman.
Murphy would miss the next season with an injury, and when he returned in 2011, the Mets transitioned the then 26-year-old to second base, where his offensive skill set would be more valuable. Murphy hit .320 that season with plenty of doubles, but the lack of homers and steals left him relegated to the bench. Murphy repeated his fantasy stats in 2012, yet again leaving him in the MI spot or on the wire.
This year, though, Murphy quietly exploded. In his age-28 season, Murphy reached double-digit homers for the first time since 2009, stealing 23 bags in only 25 attempts. Better yet, Murphy completed his well-rounded line by scoring 92 runs, driving in 78, and hitting .286. While Murphy’s low walk total and lack of power made him simply an average hitter in real life, the second baseman was well worthy of praise in FanGraphs Points style leagues simply due to the amount of times he came to the plate.
Here’s where we get to the real question: can Murphy repeat? It’s pretty safe to say the batting average will stay up around .290, and double-digit steals seems a reasonable assumption. Murphy can probably get to around 10-14 homers again, so all that’s left to chance is the lineup around him delivering some counting stats.
With much less hype, Murphy was better than Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jose Altuve, and Brandon Phillips in standard leagues. I may be wrong, but I feel like at least two of those guys will be going well before Murphy in 2014 drafts, and there’s a chance that all four of them will leapfrog Murphy in some leagues.