Thursday, October 22, 2015

Daniel Murphy

So this is the first sports post I’ve written in a long while, to commemorate the glorious magnificence of one Daniel Murphy and his improbably nay impossible postseason performance so far. There will be numbers ahead but I’ll try to stick to the semi-legible ones and make fairly simple comparisons so that more people can understand it. Most (but certainly not all) stat minded baseball people are God awful at expressing themselves in an intelligible fashion so I’ll try to avoid too much of their densely overwrought writing.

If you hadn’t heard at this point Murphy, he of 12 regular season Homeruns, has hit 7 in this postseason and 6 in his past 6 games; assisting the Mets in a sweep of the beloved Cubbies. Despite being a White Sox fan I didn’t grow up in Chicago so I have no real hatred for the Cubs but them failing over and over is still amusing. Especially when they have the best Manager in baseball and one of the better GMs. Theo Epstein is probably at least a little overrated but Joe Maddon really is a messianic figure. Speaking of which Lord Murphy definitely fits that description as well.

In the regular season Murphy hit 281/322/449 (771 OPS), a generally unremarkable figure, he’s more or less average or slightly above average. Nothing is offensively bad about Murphy and nothing is particularly great either, he’s just an alright MLB player. He is however white and also has a shitty OBP so that means people will like him a lot for no particular reason; he’s the nitty gritty heart of the team and all that shit. Never failed to run out a ground ball, Rudy personified, effort, passion, love of the game and what not.

So out of the blue he just decided to have a fucking insane postseason to this point and in the NLCS alone he hit 529/556/1.294 (1.850 OPS), with a home run in every damn game of the series. That is, quite simply, preposterous; it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. He’s not even a young player where maybe he could be having his breakout moment or something, no this guy’s a pretty set in stone alright guy and will continue to be so. How does that series line stackup? Well let’s look back at some old chums of ours and compare:

Carlos “former Lugnut” Beltran 2004 NLDS 455/500/1.091 (1.591 OPS)
Alex “Sucks in the Postseason” Rodriguez 2009 ALCS 429/567/952 (1.519 OPS)
Mickey “Mick” Mantle 1960 World Series 400/545/800 (1.345 OPS)
Barry “My Ego is as big as my Head” Bonds 2002 World Series 471/700/1.294 (1.994 OPS)
Babe Fucking Ruth 1928 World Series 625/647/1.375 (2.022 OPS)
And last but not least David “The Forgotten One” Freese 2011 NLCS 545/600/1.091 (1.691 OPS)

That my friends is a fascinating list. This upstart from New York has some mighty fine company, outclassing all but possibly the best two players who ever touched a baseball bat. Yes yes small sample size and all that, but that’s what makes this whole thing fun. Babe Ruth gives no fucks about legends and so forth, he’s just the best; he didn’t need no fancy ass numbers to prove it back then and now they all vet him and grovel before his transcendent magnificence. Barry Bonds, he of the 36.8% Hall of Fame vote, merely posted a 700 OBP in his lone appearance in the World Series; only a slight improvement over his 2004 regular season stat of 609. Bonds, he was just on base, like always. 400 OBP’s good you say? Nah fuck that shit, 600 or you suck; as Barry would not doubt inform his captive audience.

Freese was a very young player in 2009 so he was a bit of an unknown going in and could have theoretically become a very good player; instead he’s just kind of okay. He became Daniel Murphy over time while Daniel Murphy has just been living his workmanlike $8 million/year life and casually posting an OPS+ over 100. It’s very possible Daniel Murphy has a career year in the next few (post contract ironically) and further justifies his existence, but the man has no chance of ever being a legendary hall of famer or anything. At best he’ll get his number retired by the Mets or something, assuming they win the World Series (get fucked Royals fans). At worst he’ll be like Freese and be an obscure bar trivia question in a few years (I was the only one in the bar who knew it).

What does Murphy’s future look like contract wise? Well he’s probably going to get 4/48 at least, maybe 5/60, maybe something inbetween. Without this postseason I doubt many non-Mets fans would be aware of his existence, even for a short while; and that prominence means he’ll come up in more contract talk, but ultimately it will only boost his price by 10-15% or so; nothing particularly abrasive. I’ll remember you Murph, if no one else does; you did good kid. Now go back to being a normal sized Nick Punto. Unless of course the White Sox sign you, then you’re doomed.

Aside: I’ve only seen Interstellar once so no references, alas. Murphy, it's you.

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