Washington Nationals: Daniel Murphy our player of the week
By Drew Douglas
Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy is having another MVP-caliber season in 2017. He continued his phenomenal play this week, leading to him being named District on Deck’s player of the week.
After having a historic 2015 postseason for the New York Mets, Daniel Murphy became a free agent and not many teams believed he was the real deal. The Washington Nationals took a gamble on him, and boy did it pay it off. Murphy put up an MVP-caliber season, and led the Nats to the postseason.
This year, Murphy has picked up right where he left off, and is once again proving the Nationals right for believing in him and signing him. Although Murphy appears to have stone hands in the field at times, he is capable of making highlight-reel plays and makes up for any errors with his bat.
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Murphy continued his excellent season this week, recording at least one hit in all five games he started. Even more impressive, he had multiple hits in four of the five games.
Murphy also led the Nats in quite a few offensive statistical categories. He played in all six games this week and led the team in hits (13), doubles (three), batting average (.542), on-base percentage (.577), slugging percentage (.792), on-base plus slugging (1.369), total bases (19), and extra base hits (four).
He also finished in a close second behind Ryan Zimmerman in a few categories. He was second in runs scored (five), homers (one), and RBI’s (five). Zimmerman is having an outstanding season as well, so this finishing behind him is nothing to be ashamed of. Zimmerman and Murphy have formed an excellent four-five combo this season and did a great job of keeping the offense clicking in Bryce Harper‘s absence.
Murphy raked in the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, and he led the Nats to a sweep in an extremely tense series. AT&T Park especially hurts left-handed hitters, but that did not stop Murphy. Throughout the three-game series, he hit .462 with three RBI’s and two runs scored. The Nats faced some tough pitchers in Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija, but Murphy still managed to have a great series. He is one of the best hitters in the league, and he has been able to hit nearly every pitcher he has faced.
Murphy continued to rake across the bay in Oakland, recording seven hits in the first two games of the series. He also only struck out one time. With all the “three true outcome hitters” in today’s game, it is refreshing to see someone who is able to hit for power, but not strikeout every time they don’t hit a homer.
One game that may go unnoticed is Sunday against the Padres. Murphy had missed the last couple games due to an illness, but he pinch hit in the ninth inning. After missing a couple games, Murphy picked up right where he left off and put up an outstanding at-bat against Padres closer Brandon Maurer. After quickly going down 0-2, Murphy battled and ended up with a ten-pitch at-bat. After seeing ten pitches, he crushed a line drive into center field, but it was right at the center fielder. Not many guys would’ve been able to have such a quality at-bat while pinch hitting against the other team’s closer after missing a couple games. Murphy is truly a world-class hitter.
Unfortunately the Nats may be without Murphy for a few games. During the ninth inning of Saturday’s game in Oakland, Murphy got hit by a pitch right in his knee. Although he remained in the game and didn’t appear to be injured, Dusty Baker may elect to give him a few games off.
Next: Offense cruising at record levels
Daniel Murphy is enjoying yet another MVP-caliber season in 2017, and is hitting .343 through his first 50 games. The Nationals will more than likely make the playoffs again this year. If Murphy is able to stay hot, he is capable of leading them on a deep postseason run like he did for the Mets in 2015.