Washington Nationals: Five Reasons They Won NL East
When the Washington Nationals signed Daniel Murphy away from the New York Mets on January 6, they hoped to level the playing field after the Mets won the division last year. Instead, Murphy’s first year in the District will go down as legendary.
No player in the long and storied history of baseball destroyed a former team as Murphy did with the Mets. In all 19 games, he slapped a hit. In total, his 31-for-75 performance against his old friends in Gotham tipped balance all the way down I-95. His slash line of .413/.444/.773 shook fans from Arlington to Flushing.
The rest of his season went well too. Murphy’s 47 doubles, 25 homers and 104 RBI are all career highs. So is his .347 batting average. If not for a late-season injury to his behind in Atlanta, he had a real chance of winning the batting crown.
As Bryce Harper struggled to hit the ball, Murphy filled the gap. His .596 slugging percentage and OPS of .987 is league best. The Adjusted OPS+ of 158 makes him the most efficient hitter in the NL, above Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado and Corey Seager.
If he does not bat again during the regular season, his .347 average is a franchise record dating back throughout Montreal and Washington’s history.