It’s season preview time! Each Saturday I will analyze each position, looking at the quality, as well as the depth of the Met roster, and how players at each position could perform this season. Enjoy.
The Mets will be praying for the successful return of second baseman Daniel Murphy in 2012 as he tries to build off a fantastic season in 2011. Murphy had arguably the best breakout year in the National League, improving his batting average from 2009, the last season he played with the Mets, by 54 points.
In 2008, the Mets called up a 23 year-old outfielder/third baseman named Daniel Murphy. He surprised many Met fans and put hisname into the future stardom conversation. Murphy played 49 games in 2008, hitting .313 with two home runs and 17 RBI. The next year when the Mets needed a first baseman, Murphy, who is awful on defense at just about every position, stepped into the role. He played a full season in 2009 in the big leagues, hitting .266 with 12 home runs (a team high) in 155 games.
In spring of 2010, Murphy was the starting first baseman going into camp. Then, a catastrophic injury at the end of camp ended his season. Murphy had to fight for a job in the spring of 2011 after the injury, which he did.
Daniel Murphy, only 25, played 109 of the first 113 games for the Mets before yet again, suffering a season-ending injury. However, he will be healthy for the start of Spring Training.
Murphy surprised everybody with his bat. I have said that if Murphy had stayed healthy for the remainder of the season, he would have given Jose Reyes a run for his money in the batting race. Instead, Murphy went down with a greusome left knee injury, which you can see below:
This season, after Murph’s incredible season at the plate, Murphy will be the starting second baseman. Here, his bad defense will be minimized, and it will be worth having him on the field. Hopefully Murphy will be able to play an entire season so we can see if last year was just a fluke, or if he really is one of the National League’s best up and coming hitters like he showed us all he was last year.
Luckily for the Mets, if Daniel Murphy somehow goes down with another injury in 2012, they will have a solid backup to full in. Youngster Justin Turner stepped up when the Mets needed him and hit 30 doubles in 117 games. That’s an average of over 40 per 162 games played. He really played well, showing grit and passion during the season. Sadly, there won’t be a starting position for Turner in 2012, despite his great play in ’11, but he will be a big contributor off the bench for the Mets in pinch hitting situations, as well as if Daniel Murphy goes down.
Overall Grade: B+
Murphy played very well last year, showing glimpses of a future batting champion. However, I didn’t give a grade of “A+,” “A,” or even “A-” because of the fact that the season for Murph last year only consisted of 391 at-bats. If he continues raking in 2011, the grade next year will be higher, likely the highest grade possible.
Also, you have to take into account Murphy’s defense. He isn’t exactly Bill Mazeroski at second. He needs time to adjust to second and needs work with coaches, much like he did when he moved to first base in 2009.
Come back next Saturday for the season preview on the shortstop position!