Where Did This Guy Come From? Dan Murphy

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Dan Murphy is hitting .358/.460/.547 in his first 21 major league games, with 10 walks and eight strikeouts in 53 at-bats. He wasn't on the radar as a top prospect pre-season. Who is this guy?

I had him in the 2008 book as a Grade C, but with some sleeper potential. Here is the book comment which explains his background:

Murphy was drafted in the 13th round in ’06, from the University of Jacksonville. He’s received little attention, but he was very successful in college, and he performed fairly well last year in the Florida State League, posting a +8 percent OPS, not great but safely above average. A line drive hitter, he’s not a walk machine, but he controls the zone well and doesn’t strike out much. His defense at third base is average, but he should be able to remain at the position if he continues to hit. Murphy will need to show more power at higher levels, which may require some tinkering with his swing to add more loft. I do think he’s a sleeper though. Grade C.

Murphy showed that additional power this year, hitting .315/.379/.493 in Double-A, posting an OPS of +17 percent compared to the Eastern League context, much improved compared to '07. I think he's been a bit over his head with the Mets and will settle down as a .280+ hitter, but with an above average on-base percentage and at least moderate power. An infielder in the minors, he's playing left field in the majors, and has proven to be an excellent defensive outfielder, at least statistically, already posting a +6 mark according to the Fielding Bible, and a 117 rate mark according to Baseball Prospectus.  

So is Murphy a fluke? Yes and no. He won't hit .350 in a full season, and I don't think he will be a big-time classic power-hitting corner outfielder. However, he does a lot of things genuinely well, gets on base, has some pop in his bat, looks really good defensively in the outfield, and could play in the infield if needed. I like the way he controls the strike zone; his BB/K/AB ratio is excellent and projects very well for his future. This is an example of a guy who was a polished college player who has been able to take his game ot the next level. He's fun to root for, and the Mets should get good use out of him over the coming seasons.

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