"My name is Daniel Murphy and I bat third."
Those were the words that came out of 18-year-old Daniel Murphy's mouth his freshman year at Jacksonville University when he was asked to give his name and what position he played.
Well, Daniel, you're wrong. You bat second in this lineup, but don't get too down about it.
Making his debut on Aug. 2, 2008 after only one game in Triple-A New Orleans, Murphy splashed onto the big league scene as a pure hitter.
In 49 games with the Mets down the stretch last season, he hit .313 with two home runs and 17 runs batted in, as well as compiling a .962 fielding percentage despite never playing left field before.
Talk about hitting the ground running.
When it comes to Murphy, it's quite simple really: He means business. In fact, one of the first things he requested when he came up to New York was not to be called 'Dan' or 'Danny,' but by his full name instead.
His reasoning? It was more professional.
Put it like this: The ball park is his office, and the batter's box is his cubical.
Although he is no longer considered a "rookie" because of his number of at-bats last season, Murphy has the chance to become one of the brightest young stars of the game in 2009.
If it weren't for that small technicality, he'd definitely be one of the favorites to win Rookie of the Year this season.
Now a full-time left fielder in 2009, I look for Murphy to improve upon what he accomplished in his limited time with the Mets in 2008.
The offense will be there, but the big question is whether or not he can learn the corner outfield position well-enough to keep him in the lineup every day. Just knowing how hard he works and what kind of person he is, I'd say yes.
I have heard some compare him to Don Mattingly, while others say he's like Wade Boggs. Personally, I'll take either one of them.
49 G, 131 AB, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 24 R, .313/.397/.473
146 G, 475 AB, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 85 R, .302/.405/.450
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