Daniel Murphy will be what the #Nats need him to be!

There is no question that for the full season Daniel Murphy was the model of consistency as a producer in the Washington Nationals’ line-up, and the team’s MVP. Murphy finished the season with an fWAR (Fangraphs) of 5.5 to lead the Nationals, but he could not keep up his lofty numbers in the 2nd half of the season due to injuries to his hamstring and gluteal muscle.

Murphy was so good in hitting with men on base and slashed .367/.420/.598/1.019. He got better in RISP spots over his standard statistics and finished the season with 104 RBIs. It was perhaps the impact of those RBIs that was most impressive as Murphy was 3rd in the Nationals League in game-winning RBIs with 16.

Some would say Daniel Murphy’s defense was not a problem in 2016, but defense is much more than just making errors. Yes, Murphy improved his error rate in 2016 with only 11 errors compared to 13 in 2015; however, Murphy’s 2nd base defensive range rating worsened to a -7.0 according to Fangraphs meaning that he was not reaching some balls he should have. Per Fangraphs, Murphy actually was above average at 1st base on his defense and rated as the Nats best at a +0.9 even though he only logged 151.2 innings at 1st base.

The 1st base defense is the hidden value for Daniel Murphy as he enhances his value where he would be an above average defender, and should be the first choice to play there when Ryan Zimmerman is not. Murphy’s defensive versatility also gives Dusty Baker more options when assembling a line-up.

Murphy turns 32-years-old at the end of 2017 Spring Training. He has been in an age progression, and has shown that his new mechanics are working for him. The key for Murphy’s 2017 season could be as simple as staying healthy.

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