Daniel Murphy, 2016
Stats: 142 games, .347/.390/.595, .985 OPS, 184 hits, 47 doubles, 25 home runs, 88 runs scored, 104 RBIs, 5 stolen bases, 35 walks, and 57 strikeouts
Awards: All-Star (Silver Slugger? MVP?)
"“I was saving Murph for a situation where hopefully he didn’t have to run and beat out a double play or something. This was MVP-caliber in my mind. He’s having an MVP season and that was big. Especially off a guy like Melancon who’s an All-Star and a very good pitcher.” – Dusty Baker after Murphy hit a pinch hit, game-tying home run in the ninth inning of a July game against the Pirates (h/t Patrick Reddington, Federal Baseball)"
Without Daniel Murphy, just where would the Nationals be? Once could argue that the former Met was only worth 4.6 WAR this season, which is of hardly MVP-caliber. However, Murphy’s ability to put consistently put balls in play while leading the National League in slugging percentage made him an invaluable member of the Nats’ lineup. He is the first player to post a slugging percentage above .570 with less than 60 strikeouts over a full season since Albert Pujols did it in 2008.
His defense may have been forgettable, but Murphy made up for it with his clutch performances at the plate, especially against divisional opponents. The lowest batting average Murphy held against an NL East foe was .319 against the Marlins. Against their closest competition, the Mets, Murphy recorded a hit in every single game he played against them. As clutch as he was, however, Murphy’s spectacular 2016 fell short to…