Washington Nationals Editorial: Where Does Daniel Murphy Rank Among Second Basemen in the NL East?
Neil Walker – New York Mets
Walker appeared in 151 games in 2015, hitting .269/.328/.427 with 146 hits, 32 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, 69 runs, 71 RBIs, four stolen bases (five attempts), 44 walks, and 110 strikeouts with an OPS+ of 107 over 603 plate appearances.
The former Pittsburgh Pirate joins the defending National League Champions following seven consecutive years with the Bucs to start his career after being traded for starter Jon Niese. He is only locked in to his contract for one more season, but with the Mets all-in on 2016, he will certainly be a proven replacement for Murphy at second base.
Walker has played in the postseason in each of the last three seasons, but sports an ugly .065/.121/.097 slash line on the big stage, including the 2013 NL Division Series, in which he went a staggering 0-for-19 at the plate. He has, however, amassed a career WAR of 16.4, the highest total of any player in this ranking.
According to RotoChamp’s projections, Walker is slotted in to bat second in the lineup to start the season. If New York’s number three hitter, David Wright, is able to stay healthy and Yoenis Cespedes can repeat his success at the cleanup spot, New York’s lineup has the potential to be a dangerous force.
With an added incentive to perform during a contract year, Walker is not expected to let up in his crucial age-30 season. He has never played a full season without appearing in at least 110 games, and has not seen less than 129 since 2010. He has the tools to put together a career year, and all signs are pointing toward a big pay day come next offseason.
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