Top 50 Scouting Report: #20 3B Daniel Murphy

Murphy had a breakout season at the plate

The New York Mets selected the third baseman in the 13th round in the 2006 MLB Draft out of Jacksonville University. His last year in college and his rookie season in the organization were both littered by leg injuries, and not until 2007 did Murphy get a chance to show was he is truly capable of doing. Here is a scouting report on St. Lucie 3B Daniel Murphy.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Daniel Murphy
DOB: April 1, 1985
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 210
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Daniel Murphy broke camp with St. Lucie last March healthy for the first time in recent memory. After battling through a leg injury that sidelined him for most of 2006, he would finally have his opportunity to compete and display what he offered at third base. He got off to a slow start in the season's opening months, but once he found his comfort zone he took off , became a valued run producer from his third spot in the order, and eventually led the Single-A Mets with 78 RBI.

"I know I started a little slow but I think just started getting balls to drop and then things just built from there," said Murphy. "At first, I just tried to not do too much with pitches and then I started making better contract. After the first couple months or so, I was swinging the bat with more authority, getting more hits, and hitting the way I always have."

"The whole direction of my game is to stay steady with my hitting and find the holes, so when I got more comfortable against the pitching down there I was able to put good swings on the ball," he continued.

With his inherent ability to drive the ball to all fields, Murphy has become one of the most consistent contact hitters in the farm system. Though he admits driving balls out of the park do not speak to his game, he still working to attain further power with hopes that home runs just come naturally.

"I really need to get more of my legs into my swing. I need to get under the balls that have been doubles in the past, get more carry on them and get them over the fence. I'll definitely take them as they come and when I get more out of my legs, I should get more home runs out of it," he explained.

However, a more concerted effort to do so may be best for his standing in the organization as it is believed that the power he displays may be all that's in the tank. It is one of the two most important elements to his game that need the most attention as he gears up for next spring, the other is his defense. Last season was his first crack at playing everyday in the field, following his rookie year in which his leg injury entirely prevented him from manning his position. His time at third base was tumultuous to say the least as he struggled with his footing and receiving of the ball.

"I need to keep working on my position and setting up to play the ball. I think at times my focus wasn't totally there and that's not really acceptable. I need to be staying low and be ready for every pitch. [My defense] has been an area the organization has really been stressing with me, so it's going to stay a focus," Murphy detailed.

Despite the challenges of the longest baseball season he has ever experienced, Murphy still has plenty to feel good about as he prepares for spring training and another promotion. He was the Sterling Award recipient as the most outstanding offensive player at St. Lucie, edging out Nick Evans, his slugging counterpart from across the diamond.

For Murphy, the award and the recognition put a significant stamp on a season which began with many unknowns because of his injury and limited playing time since being drafted.

"I thanked the Mets so much for giving me the award and giving me all the opportunities coming off the injury. The award, the playing time, my success, it was all pretty unexpected and I was fortunate enough to stay healthy all the way to the end," he disclosed.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2007

St. Lucie

.285

502

143

11

78

68

6

42

61

.338

.430

2006

Brooklyn

.241

29

7

0

3

2

0

4

3

.324

.276

2006

Kingsport

.273

33

9

2

7

2

0

4

1

.351

.455

2006

GCL

.056

18

1

0

0

2

0

4

3

.227

.056



Batting and Power: With his legs completely under him for the first time in over two years, Murphy showed his true colors as a hitter. He is a natural doubles hitters who can drive the ball to all fields while maintaining a high batting average. His excellent patience and plate awareness allow him to find his pitch and keep his strikeouts at a minimum. He could still benefit from taking more walks, but he is a free swinger who prefers to hit his way on base, and from his swing he looks capable of hitting .300 in the future. He still lacks ideal power for a corner infielder but if he can develop more loft on his line drives, he can raise his home run total.

Base Running and Speed: Murphy will not draw the attention of many opposing pitchers when he is on base, but he can steal a bag in a pinch. He is intelligent on the base paths who can take an extra bag when he needs to and who will infrequently run himself into outs.

Defense: Murphy had a very tough year in the field after filling the role as a designated hitter during much of his rookie season. He committed a frightening amount of errors last season [36] as he struggled with fielding balls cleanly and making accurate throws. He often does not get down on balls as he needs to and has some trouble when going to his backhand. He does not have a plus arm, but his arm is strong enough to make throws that he needs to. Overall, speculation exists as to whether or not Murphy will be able to stay at third base in the future, but he is athletic enough to play other positions in the field if he were to move from the hot corner.

Projection: Murphy's projection is slightly cloudy at this juncture of his career. He currently does not possess the power scouts are looking for out of a third baseman, and combined with his defensive woes last season, he may be a man without a position in the future if he cannot get either of those elements headed in a positive direction. As some of his gap power turns into home run power and he irons out his mechanical flaws in the field, Murphy could find his way into a starting role. However at this time a future role as a utility infielder is more accurate.

ETA: 2009. Despite his struggles in the field, Murphy still posted a very productive season in St. Lucie and carried that into the Hawaiian Winter League. That should set him up to be the starting third baseman in Binghamton next season with one more year in the system before making his big league debut sometime late during the 2009 season.

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