Is Daniel Murphy A Shoe-In at First Base?

March 20, 2010

Shortstop Jose Reyes and centerfielder Carlos Beltran are without a doubt the most popular players on the Mets ballclub. Unfortunately for both of them, they have also had to endure the harshest criticism. Reyes has had to defend himself of late because of his inability to avoid the disabled list and Beltran has undergone two major knee surgeries within the last year that have kept him off the field more so than on.

With the current status of Reyes and Beltran in limbo, the ballclub has found itself relying on other types of players such as, Daniel Murphy, their projected first baseman for this upcoming season. Murphy has not only been heralded by the Mets organization as the de facto leader of this current wave of promising young talent coming out of their farm system but has also experienced his fair share of scrutiny equal to that of some of the Mets established veteran players. Ever since the soon-to-be-24-year-old broke out onto the scene in late 2008, he has been able to participate on the major league level in some capacity.

On Friday against the Minnesota Twins, he put up another goose egg in the hit column leaving six men on base and lowering his spring average in ten games to a disheartening .133. With those types of preseason numbers, Murphy’s critics could feel justified in their arguments that he shouldn’t simply be handed the first baseman’s job come April 5th.

In a recent article on Mets.com, Murphy stressed that he never reads any stories about himself and later added, “I can’t control that stuff.”

As depressing a .176 on-base percentage and a .233 slugging percentage may sound, Mets manager Jerry Manuel still seems pleased with Murphy’s progress thus far.

“He’s looked extremely well at first base,” Manuel said. “He’s very aggressive. We feel very, very, very comfortable and confident that he can get the job done at the Major League level and play well.”

Prospect Ike Davis will likely be starting the season at Triple-A and Mike Jacobs who was brought over to the Mets with the hopes of taking the first base man’s job away from Murphy is hitting just .200. Jacobs however has produced two home runs in twenty preseason at-bats.

That being said, Murphy may have already earned the right to begin the 2010 season as the Mets starting first base merely by default.

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