Daniel Murphy’s historic run through the MLB playoffs may show he’s locked-in at the plate, but apparently the New York Mets infielder is anything but locked-in with regard to his future with the team.
Team sources confirm to the New York Daily News that the Mets may jettison him after the season. One source claimed, “He’s been great, really great, but it changes nothing.”
“Really great” hardly paints an accurate portrayal of the utterly spectacular playoff run of Murphy, who clobbered his fifth post-season home run off of the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta on Sunday night in the Mets’ 4-1 Game 2 victory. Murphy has feasted on the best pitchers baseball has to offer, including former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, current Cy Young contender Zack Greinke, three-time All Star Jon Lester, and huge Cy Young favorite Arrieta.
Teammate David Wright, marveling at Murphy’s performance, asserted, “Very rarely do you see somebody get this hot against average pitching. Throw in that it’s Kershaw, Greinke twice each, Lester, Arrieta — I mean, that’s impressive. He’s about as locked in as I’ve seen a hitter, and he’s carried that out now for seven games. That’s quite a feat.”
Murphy’s five home runs in a player’s first seven career postseason games trail only Ken Griffey Jr. and Carlos Beltran, who each had six; his five post-season home runs set a new Mets record, and even tied Mike Piazza’s franchise-record five career homers in a total postseason.
Murphy’s emergence as a home run slugger has surprised everyone; only three players with five or more home runs in a single postseason, Melvin Upton Jr. in 2008, Todd Walker in ’03 and Delmon Young in ’11, had a lesser home run ratio than Murphy did during the regular season.
Murphy’s contact ratio surpasses every other player in baseball, as Murphy’s swings against pitches in the strike zone resulted in a ball in play 97.5% of the time and he struck out in only 7.1 percent of his plate appearances, the best in the NL. Michael Cuddyer had a ready explanation for Murphy’s breakout performance; he noted that elite pitchers figured they couldn’t strike Murphy out, so they challenge him.
As Carlos Pena correctly pointed out, Murphy has taken Mets hitting coach Kevin Long’s advice about getting ready early for the pitch to heart; digging his right toe into the ground just before the pitch is delivered.
Murphy simply said, “I definitely am seeing the ball well right now, so that’s nice.”