10 Reasons Why Daniel Murphy Will One Day Win the National League Batting Title
Daniel Murphy was not the typical, highly touted prospect expected to resurrect a struggling franchise.
He has been seen as a complementary piece to a rebuilding team—a utility player filling a need.
In reality, Murphy has proven to be much more valuable than foreseen. It's not out of the realm of possibility for Murphy to win a batting title in the near future.
Murphy entered the league in 2008 as a 23-year-old and played in 49 games. He finished the season batting .313.
Since then, Murphy has played only one full season (2009), missed all of 2010, played 109 games in 2011 and has played in 40 as of this writing in 2012.
His year-end batting averages have been .313, .266 and .320. He is at .319 so far this season.
With a career batting average of .296 and only one full season of major league experience under his belt, Murphy is poised to improve upon already standout numbers.
2. On-Base Percentage
Murphy's patience at this plate has earned him a reputation of being a difficult out.
A career OBP of .346 shows Murphy's willingness to take pitches, work counts and pick out the pitch he wants.
A patient hitter is more likely to find a hittable pitch than a free swinger. Murphy is certainly the former.
Murphy is not a power hitter.
He has only 20 career home runs in 1,193 at-bats, compiling a slugging percentage of .434.
Historically speaking, batting title winners tend to have higher slugging percentages than Murphy's .434. In fact, since 2006, Jose Reyes is the only National League player to win a batting title with a slugging percentage under .500.
However, with Murphy on pace for a career-high 48 doubles in 2012, his SLG is trending upwards.
4. Low Strikeout Total
Over his career, Murphy has averaged one strikeout for every 7.5 at-bats.
Not terrific, but certainly not terrible.
For a season with 500 at-bats, Murphy can expect to strike out 67 times.
Three of the last five National League batting champs had over 100 strikeouts in their title seasons (Carlos Gonzalez: 135 in 2010; Hanley Ramirez: 101 in 2009; Matt Holliday: 126 in 2007).
Batting average on balls in play.
In Murphy's three seasons, his BABIP totals are as follows: .382, .284, .345. So far in 2012, it stands at .364.
What this means is that Murphy takes quality swings. When he puts the ball in play, he earns a hit nearly a third of the time over his career.
Those are pretty good odds.
6. Mets Lineup
Seems like a strange reason, but there's something to it.
Jose Reyes led off for this team last season and won the NL batting title with a .337 average.
Currently, David Wright leads all of baseball with his .415 average.
On average, the Mets see nearly four pitches per at-bat—the most in the league. They are disciplined, and they are talented.
Whether Murphy bats before or after Wright in the lineup is inconsequential.
If he bats before him, he will see pitched to hit as pitchers do not want to walk Murphy ahead of the league's top hitter.
Conversely, if he bats after Wright, there's a high likelihood Wright is on base, leading pitchers to make a whole-hearted attempt to get Murphy out. Hence, better pitches to hit.
7. Citi Field
The place is made for a gap-to-gap hitter like Murphy.
It was probably a better environment before the fences crept close to the plate, but nonetheless, Citi Field plays big.
There is plenty of room in the outfield—sometimes too much to cover. For a contact hitter like Murphy, the added space is a blessing.
8. He's a Lefty
Again, this may not make sense but consider this: 13 of the last 18 NL batting champs were either left-handed or switch-hitters.
Most pitchers are right handed. Left-handed batters tend to have more success against righties.
Maybe it's a pure coincidence that 13 NL batting champs since 1994 have hit from the left side, but then again, perhaps it isn't.
Murphy has played on a one-year deal every season of his career.
Maybe, it's because of his injury history. Whatever the reason may be, Murphy, at some point, will want a career-defining, multi-year deal.
What better way to earn your big contract than to put "NL Batting Champ" on your resume?
It feels like Murphy has been with Mets for a long time.
In reality, he has just over two full seasons worth of at-bats.
At 27, Murphy should theoretically still be on the rise towards his prime.
The foundation has been set, and now, it's up to Murphy to build upon it on his way to a NL batting title.