Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Murphy’

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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Mets Fans Lose More than Their Leadoff Man in Reyes

August 7, 2009

On my desk at work, there are many pens, pencils, and highlighters that I use on a daily basis. There are numerous piles of paper, a late-model computer monitor, and a standardized telephone with voice mail features. Along with my daily routine of logging into my work email, I maintain a day-to-day Mets Trivia calendar by peeling each day’s tidbit as I see fit. Well, wouldn’t you know that of all the days yesterday’s coincidentally read, ‘What number does Jose Reyes wear on his jersey?’ Without even glancing at the answer, I consciously told myself, seven.

With the latest news regarding Jose Reyes’ future for this season all but confirmed, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s in store for the Mets shortstop. Looking at Reyes’ career numbers, you can’t help but notice his 301 stolen bases to go along with 73 triples in approximately five full seasons. From 2005-2008, Jose averaged around 65 stolen bases and sixteen triples a season. With a career on-base percentage of .337, the Mets positioned him atop their lineup. Considered by many to be the ball club’s catalyst each and every night, he carried that burden with open abandonment. As Reyes goes, so go the Mets.

Since being placed on the disabled list, Reyes’ absence has denied fans their favorite chant during Mets home games which is, “Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se…..” I guess for the time being we can perform a little jig whenever Daniel Murphy comes to the plate. Or hope that Reyes’ return next year is sooner than later.

Mets Lineup Showing Stability within an Unstable Environment

July 29, 2009

As chaotic as the Mets front office may seem these last few days, the makeup of their everyday starting lineup has remained a symbol of stability. Since placing veteran outfielder Gary Sheffield on the 15-day disabled list, Mets manager Jerry Manual has left his lineup card on auto pilot. With the exception of splitting up the catching duties, the remaining spots in the Mets lineup have been designated to include the same group of guys.

Centerfielder Angel Pagan has enjoyed the leadoff spot with three triples and two doubles in his last ten games. Second baseman Luis Castillo has seen his batting average skyrocket over three hundred and is currently batting .306. Third baseman David Wright continues to produce and get on base. He is now hitting .321. First baseman Daniel Murphy has benefitted greatly from the extra playing time. He has been able to sharpen up his defensive skills and concentrate on moving runners over. Since coming over to the Mets, right fielder Jeff Francoeur has gone 17-for-52 (.327 BA) with three home runs and fifteen RBIs. If you add the steady hands (no pun intended!) of shortstop Alex Cora and left fielder Cory Sullivan, it makes for a very cohesive lineup.

Not only is the Mets latest four game winning streak refreshing but the current approach of their manager can also be looked at as promising. There has been no bigger advocate than me in finally seeing some consistency in the Mets starting lineup. Jerry, I know you’re just itching to mix-and-match your everyday players for the remaining two games of this series but for the love of all things Wilpon, don’t you even think it.

Perez Second Outing Since His Return, Not So Bad

July 17, 2009

In the bottom of the sixth inning of last night’s 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves, Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez was up around ninety pitches. He had runners on first and third with one out and the score tied at three apiece. After a visit from Mets Pitching Coach Dan Warthen, Perez was ready to go back to work. Following a strike out of Braves outfielder Matt Diaz and a couple of outstanding plays by Mets catcher Brian Schneider, Perez was able to force Casey Kotchman to hit the ball on the ground towards first baseman Daniel Murphy. Instead of throwing the ball to second base for the easy out, Murphy decide to flip the ball to Perez who was covering first base for the third out of the inning, job well done.

If the Mets are to give their fans anything to cheer about for the remainder of their season, coming up on the positive end of situations like the one during the sixth inning is a good place to start. Even though the second half for the Mets began with a loss, their left-hander showed that he had the ability to compete and pitch when he needed to. Perez, who went six solid innings last night, ended up with a no-decision surrendering just three earned runs and five hits. He did produce four walks however they were three less than what he had during his last outing. Perez also struck out six batters. His next start will most likely come against the Washington Nationals some time next week.

For further reading, check a previous post entitled Perez, Take Two.

I May Have Single-Handedly Figured Out the Mets

July 9, 2009

For the past three months of the season, I had been carrying Mets left fielder turned first baseman Daniel Murphy on my head-to-head fantasy baseball team. As Mets fans know, Murphy started the season off strong, struggled a bit in May and June, and now has remained stagnant at best. Prior to last night’s game, Murphy’s last 31 at-bats have managed to produce just five hits, drive in only one run, and score just the same. It would be fair to say that his statistics are hurting my fantasy team and not helping it. Being the loyal Mets fans that I am, I decided to stick with the young left-handed hitting first baseman for as long as I could.

Then, something dawned on me. By applying Murphy’s law (no pun intended), I conjured up the theory that if I dropped the promising Mets farmhand he quite possibly could start producing like he did earlier in the season. I know what you’re thinking. My quick judgment to abandon a struggling Mets player in need could be considered a tad harsh. But, hear me out. Since I have given Daniel Murphy the heave-ho, he has gone 2 for 4 with a run scored. In my opinion, those are mighty good stats for a fantasy player who does not start everyday. Not to mention that his performance offensively was a spark for an otherwise ailing ball club. Add in his defensive gem last night which I must say is one for the highlight reel and you’ve got yourself a proven theory.

What we have learned from this is if all Mets fans proceeded to drop every Mets player on their fantasy rosters then there may be the possibility that the Mets may never lose another game again.

I’ve Seen Enough to Know When I’ve Seen Enough

June 29, 2009

When the Mets acquired infielder Alex Cora during the off-season, I thought to myself, “Hey, he’d make a good back-up infielder or he’d be an asset coming off the bench.” Nowadays, Cora is the Mets everyday shortstop not be choice but by default. As this month comes to a close, the definite theme for a Mets team on the brink of disaster is injuries or worse, complacency.

Since their lead-off hitter and gold glove centerfield have been relegated to the disabled list, the Mets have struggled to put any semblance of a winning streak together or shown that they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the boys on the other side of town. Last night’s defeat, the third in a row to the Yankees, was just another embarrassing reminder of how far off this group of Mets players has fallen out of touch with reality. The reality is this Mets team is not keeping it together, with their major starters on the shelf. No matter how we try to spin it, Fernando Tatis and Argenis Reyes are no replacement for Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes.

The norm these days consists of Alex Cora staring down strike three with runners in scoring position or Daniel Murphy unsure of where to throw the ball. The other members of this team have become programmed to believe that if they just play five hundred baseball things will work out. To think Mets fans would be inclined to fall in love with just anybody who dons a Mets uniform is downright insulting.

It May Be Time for the Mets to Re-evaluate Their Youth Movement

June 17, 2009

Looking at the Mets starting lineup last night against the Baltimore Orioles, one can’t help but notice 20-year-old Fernando Martinez and 24-year-old Daniel Murphy batting second and seventh among a bevy of veteran Mets players. For Martinez, this is just his fourteenth start of the season after being called up on May 26th. So far, the young Mets outfielder’s stint in the big leagues hasn’t been all the glitz and glamour that perhaps he was expecting when he was given the opportunity to play in front of the New York faithful.

In 16 games, including last night’s 6-4 win over the Orioles, Martinez has just eleven hits in 56 at-bats which equates to a .196 batting average. Prior to being placed on the Mets roster, he produced eight home runs and a .291 BA at Buffalo, the Mets Triple-A affiliate. However, Martinez has yet to show off that power and is still waiting for his first career home run.

As the Mets continue to play in American League ballparks, they share the same advantage as their counterparts by having a designated hitter in their lineup. This allows Martinez to play the field and Gary Sheffield to rest his sore knee while he is acting as the Mets DH. Nonetheless, when the team heads home for a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays, pitchers will be back in the lineup and most likely Sheffield will be taking Martinez’ spot in the outfield.

Daniel Murphy, on the other hand, has been with the Mets ball club since day one. After a strong start, Murphy’s offensive production has almost disappeared. Since May 29th, the Mets new first baseman has just five hits in his last 40 at-bats. In that span, Murphy’s batting average has gone from an okay .260 to a miserable .234 while scoring only one run.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel has mentioned that young players would benefit most from playing everyday. Perhaps, he should consider his own advice and option these two young Mets players somewhere else so they can work on getting back on track.

Murphy May Have Lost More than Just His Stroke

May 19, 2009

Many moons ago, the only disappointing aspect of young Daniel Murphy’s short tenure with the Mets occurred when a fly ball was headed straight towards him. In those days, Mets fans were comfortable with their left fielder’s shortcomings. Most of the time, they looked the other way, satisfied by the patience that he was showing at the plate. Through the Mets first twenty games, Murphy managed to hit safely in seventeen of them. Heading into the month of May, he was batting .324 with 13 runs scored and a .373 on-base percentage. With those numbers, Mets manager Jerry Manuel was finding it much easier to tolerate an occasional misplay or two by his young left fielder.

However, with the current absence of first baseman Carlos Delgado, Murphy’s playing time and his offensive output has diminished considerably. In his last ten games, Murphy has only been asked to start in half of them. During that span, he has managed just 2 hits in 21 at-bats. On Sunday night, Murphy started in left but was lifted in the eighth inning for a pinch hitter.

“I don’t think Murphy is swinging quite well now,” Manuel said. “I don’t see the quick hands. It’s probably mechanical or fundamental right now for him. He’s not playing on a consistent basis like he’d like to be, and he’s just kind of struggling.”

It’s worth mentioning that Murphy has gone 1 for 5 as a pinch hitter during that ten game stretch along with a RBI. Perhaps he could better serve the Mets coming off the bench. If you remember correctly, that’s where it all began for Murphy.

That Raging Mets Fan May Not Be a Fan at All

May 12, 2009

During last night’s game with the score tied, 1-1, the Atlanta Braves had runners on first and second with two outs in the top half of the seventh inning. Mets manager Jerry Manuel had just taken out right-hander Bobby Parnell and replaced him with lefty Pedro Feliciano. Pitching to Braves catcher Brian McCann, Feliciano got exactly what he wanted, a ground ball. Unfortunately, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes bobbled it and failed to complete the play prolonging the inning. The Braves went on to tack on four runs upping the score, 5-1. It doesn’t take a baseball enthusiast to note that Reyes had made a big mistake.

The Mets sure-handed shortstop will must likely be criticized for what he was unable to accomplish last night. If the Mets hadn’t just won seven games in a row in convincing fashion, NY beat writers, local sports talk radio hosts, and all those fickle Mets fans would be calling for Reyes’ head. Prior to the Mets surge into first place atop the NL East, the team was catching an unbelievable amount of slack. Whether it was the inability of the Mets hitters to knock in runners while in scoring position or an over-taxed bullpen due to lackluster starting pitching, Mets fans were becoming steadfast believers that their team was heading towards a fate equal to that of the last two seasons.

Factor in a brand-new $800 million stadium that Mets fans consider unfriendly along with a free agent signing that stinks to high-heaven and you get self-proclaimed Mets fans who feel very strongly in the comments that they are spewing about. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of them were camped out in front of their HD TVs tuned to SNY shaking their heads and stomping their feet still reeling from the pre-winning streak performances of their favorite team. I gather that type of behavior will start to rear its ugly head once again. Why? The ace of their staff, Johan Santana, was tagged with his second loss of the season in which he again received limited run support.

It’s just a matter of time when the magnifying glass will be dusted off and young Daniel Murphy’s defense will be brought into focus. Manager Jerry Manuel’s mismanagement of the bullpen will be cause for concern and David Wright’s strikeouts will continue to mount. Yes, these are the non-stop reminders from so-called real Mets fans. Whose only intention is to unleash their childish criticisms and who probably would have never followed the Mets if they didn’t have such a high payroll. According to these fans, the sky is the limit as long as it’s not their sky and not their limit. I was happy that the Mets didn’t sign Derek Lowe. I’d rather spend an evening with Gary Sheffield than all day inside Mannywood. I knew Pedro Martinez was washed up. And most importantly, I like these Mets. So now I have to ask all those embittered Mets fans, do you?

Murphy’s Not the Only One in the Doghouse

April 22, 2009

Oliver Perez’ performance against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night proves one thing: he’s no Johan Santana. However, ever since the Mets organization has acquired the often unpredictable left-hander he has been given the benefit of the doubt. For fans who exhibit short-term memory loss when Perez takes the hill, they are safe. But for those who can recollect some if not all of his head-scratching performances, I think it’s time to either hire a divorce lawyer or get used to sleeping on the couch.

Last night’s game was undoubtedly a tough one to swallow. After a loss like that, I am usually able to decompress well before the 11 o’clock news. However, because of the 8 o’clock start I was still reeling during the five-day forecast. With the sports segment coming up next, I occupied myself by tying up some old newspapers with the hope that I wouldn’t implode like J.J. Putz in the bottom of the eighth inning. I could overhear Len Berman’s voice echoing from the bedroom. “…. Casey Fossum walks in the tying run” Why did Manuel bring him in? “….Beltran doesn’t slide and he’s called out” Why didn’t he slide? “…Daniel Murphy falls down” I then, with disregard for human life, stormed into the room and said, “You see why I am so pissed.”

I eventually calmed down and felt that the best way to remedy my displeasure was to sleep on it. Fortunately for us fans, tomorrow’s another day. As for my relationship, I definitely will have some reconciling to do.