As we continue to venture into the offseason in Mets land, this week’s prospect time machine takes a look at yet another current and homegrown player on New York’s roster in Daniel Murphy. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Murph attended Englewood Senior High School before playing his college ball at Jacksonville University.
Prior to being drafted by the Mets in the 13th round of the 2006 MLB Draft, Murphy’s squad qualified for the NCAA tournament, with a chance to reach the College World Series. It just so happened that Sacred Heart University (my alma mater) had won their conference tournament, also punching their ticket to the tourney. They ended up playing Jacksonville University before they were eliminated.
One of the assistant coaches came back after their season was over, and kept talking about this one hitter they couldn’t get out no matter what they tried. He was playing with a hurt knee, but manned third base very well, along with getting hit after hit in the third spot of the lineup. Coincidentally enough, that ballplayer was Daniel Murphy.
Upon getting drafted by the Mets, Murphy signed and began his professional baseball career in 2006 by getting limited at-bats with three different teams. He played for Kingsport, the GCL Mets, and Brooklyn before the season finished. In 25 games played and 93 combined plate appearances, he hit .213/.312/.300 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.
Murphy came back healthy and ready to contribute in his first full season of pro ball, spending it in the Florida State League with the St. Lucie Mets of High-A. In 559 plate appearances and 135 games played, he gave us a glimpse as to what he would eventually do at the plate in the majors — he hit .285/.338/.430 with 11 home runs, 34 doubles, and 78 RBIs.
The 2008 season came with a promotion to Double-A Binghamton for Murph, and he continued producing at a high level in 95 games played. The left-handed hitter put together a .308/.374/.496 line with 13 home runs, 26 doubles, and 67 RBIs for the B-Mets. As most of us know, he made the jump from Double-A to the major leagues with his MLB debut on August 2nd, 2008. He immediately started winning fans over with his play. A .313/.397/.473 line in 49 games played doesn’t hurt, either.
He was one of the few Mets players to last just about the entire season in 2009, hitting .266/.313/.427 in his first full season of service in the major leagues. Injuries kept Murphy off the field in 2010 and cut short his 2011 season, but he continued to show he could handle MLB pitching. The only problem was to find him a position. A guy named David Wright had the third base spot on the field on lock down, the outfield experiment was a disaster, and he wouldn’t stick at first base because he’s not a home run hitter.
New York decided to turn him into a second baseman. When he first started at the position in 2012, it didn’t look pretty. However, with a lot of hard work and dedication, Murph has turned himself into a halfway decent ballplayer at his latest position. While he learned his new role, he continued to hit at good clip (.291 BA in ’12, .286 in ’13), and has become one of the most dependable players for Terry Collins (156 games played in ’12, 161 in ’13).
We’ll have to wait and see if Murphy ends up being a part of the Mets moving forward, as he could be leveraged in trade talks this winter. Either way, New York has gotten a lot of of their 13th round pick. If New York feels he’s the right player to man second base for the immediate future, I will happy to see #28 run out onto the field every night.