Daniel Murphy: Most Underrated 2nd Baseman in MLB?

Evan SmithContributor IIIJuly 7, 2014

Daniel Murphy following through on his swing
Daniel Murphy following through on his swingUSA TODAY Sports

This past week, Daniel Murphy received word from Mets skipper, Terry Collins, that the second baseman was elected to the 2014 All-Star Game.

Murphy seemed shocked to get the nomination for the classic game, but true New York Mets fans know that he has been a consistent producer for the team this year and in years past. But it seems as though most analysts and fans around the league take Murphy’s abilities as a hitter and as a fielder for granted.

Initially, when Murphy was called up to the big leagues, there was nowhere to put him in terms of a position, which forced the Mets to stick him in the outfield—a position with which he was not too familiar. The results showed as he made numerous errors in the outfield.

Then the Mets tried to move him to first base where he was adequate but still a subpar fielder. Finally, the team moved him to second base, a position he was much more comfortable with as he was seemingly able to make the transition.  

Despite his defensive ambiguity in the past, his hitting has made him a constant threat in the lineup. In his first year in the bigs, Murphy hit an impressive .313 in only 49 games. In 2009, Murphy led the team in home runs with 12 on a team that was egregious.  

In 2010, he put up even more outstanding numbers when he batted .320 with six home runs and 49 RBI. Then in 2011 and 2012, he batted .291 and .286, respectively.

After being criticized at the beginning of the season by multiple sports pundits due to his absence on Opening Day, Murphy has been on a mission to quiet his naysayers with his stellar play.

This year, the 29-year-old has taken his game to another level. Currently, he is hitting .294 with seven home runs, 35 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Furthermore, his 106 hits puts him within the top 10 in the bigs.

Yet he is hardly considered one of the best-hitting second basemen in the big leagues. Names such as Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano are the primary players mentioned when discussing top second basemen in baseball. His WAR is 1.9, which ranks him 10th for second basemen.

Perhaps, it is because Murphy has served as a utility man in seasons past that has led fans to disregard him as one of the better second basemen in the big leagues. But he is a player who comes through in clutch situations and plays consistently. He played in 161 games in 2013 and 156 games in 2012.

The Jacksonville native has been a dependable bat in the Mets lineup and has slowly become reliable in the field. This All-Star nomination finally paid some recognition to one of the most unnoticed bats in the big leagues.

And perhaps this is only the first step for Murphy in terms of getting his name thrown into the spotlight of elite second basemen.


Follow Evan on Twitter @Emoneyball22.