Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy put together another MVP-caliber season in 2017. What grade does he deserve?
When Daniel Murphy signed with the Washington Nationals prior to the 2016 season, nobody really knew what to realistically expect. He had always been a solid hitter with the New York Mets, but never hit for much power until the 2015 postseason.
In the 2015 postseason, Murphy put on an incredible and unprecedented display of power. He hit seven homers throughout the National League Division Series and the National League Championship Series, almost singlehandedly leading the Mets to the World Series.
Murphy’s postseason performance was amazing, but people questioned whether or not it was repeatable. Fortunately for the Nats, that was just the beginning of Murphy’s stardom.
In Murphy’s first season with the Nats, 2016, he finished second in NL MVP voting, behind only Kris Bryant. Then, he had another MVP-caliber season in 2017.
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In 2017, Murphy owned a slash line of .322/.384/.543 to go with his 23 homers, 93 RBI’s, and 94 runs scored. A stalwart in the heart of the lineup, he did the impossible and never endured a lengthy slump. He was also extremely durable, missing just 18 games all season.
Finally, Murphy worked extremely hard to improve his defense, the most scrutinized aspect of his game, and the work paid off in 2017. Despite playing in the third-most games of any season in his career, he only committed nine errors, a career-best.
2017 was also another award-worthy season for Murphy. After a fantastic first half, he was named an All-Star for the second consecutive season. This All-Star Game was special for Murphy, though, as it was his first time starting the game.
Murphy was also recognized with another award last night when he was named the Silver Slugger Award winner among National League second basemen. Like being named an All-Star, this was Murphy’s second consecutive season winning the award.
To make Murphy’s all-star campaign even more impressive, he played through a knee injury towards the end of the season. We do not know exactly how long he dealt with it, but he did not look like himself in the season’s final months.
Shortly after the Nationals’ season ended, Murphy underwent surgery to repair damage to the articular cartilage in his right knee. While the surgery was successful, he may not be ready for Opening Day in 2018.
The fact that Murphy’s knee required surgery, yet he played at an elite level nearly everyday, is absolutely astonishing.
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Now, Murphy enters his third and potentially final season with the Nats. He has quickly become a fan favorite in DC after two phenomenal seasons. Like his first season in the nation’s capital, Murphy’s 2017 campaign deserves a perfect A.