came to Binghamton after a successful season in 2007 with the St. Lucie Mets
where he satisfied observers with his ability to hit consistently in the gaps with measurable home run power. But following that season in which he hit .285 with 11 home runs and 34 doubles, he has elevated his game to a new level in Binghamton where his offensive game has become more dynamic, helping him gain more recognition as a possible long term option in the farm system.
Murphy started the season on a tremendous hot streak, hitting .363 with 18 RBI, .404 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases [he stole six in 2007] in April. Since then, he has cooled to a certain extent but is still hitting .290 since May 1 including seven home runs and 29 RBI. Murphy, who ranks tenth, third and second in batting average, hits and RBI respectively in the Eastern League, attributes his big year to comfort both in the lineup and at the plate.
"The fact that I'm in the middle of the lineup that has been swinging the bat so well allows me to get really comfortable. I don't think I've ever felt this comfortable at the plate," he said.
"I'm seeing the ball really well and I'm able to come through with what I'm setting out to do at the plate. I don't feel any pressure in the middle of this lineup which is great because I can go out there and just hit."
Mechanically, the improvements for Murphy have come in a number of ways. Though already known for his proficiency as a contact hitter, he wanted to, and in some cases needed to, strengthen his ability to hit line-to-line while increasing his power. At times last season, Murphy admittedly became too pull-happy which triggered streaky patterns.
Therefore, this season he has put in a concentrated effort in going the other way and it is visible when he is in the box. Murphy has shown strengths in handling the inside pitch whether it is a fastball or a breaking pitch. That skill has carried him a long way against the much tougher Eastern League pitching.
"I really worked hard on driving the ball the other way last year, but I've really been taking advantage of the bigger fields this year, hitting more line drives and getting good bat speed through the strike zone. I'm a little shorter to the ball, that's also made a difference," he detailed.
"Again though, a lot of it comes back to this lineup I'm hitting in. Last year in the Florida State League, I got off to a bad start and it took a while for me to recover. This season, I got off to a hot start and hitting in this lineup has allowed me to continue that until now and I hope it carries through the rest of the season.
Another specific area that aids Murphy's improvement is his strength against left-handed pitching. Entering the weekend, Murphy was hitting .298 against southpaws, dipping under .300 only within the last week. He acknowledges his success with a more defined approach.
"With lefties, I need to focus a little more because I don't see them as much. I started eliminating parts of the lefty's game against me. I'm throwing out the curveball because that will usually be out of the zone, the changeup will usually be down and tough to get to, so I'm just staying on what I'm looking for and luckily I've been able to capitalize," he explained.
Lastly for Murphy, it's about keeping the rest of the season in perspective. After making great strides, he wants to continue that effort and after seeing the promotion of teammate Nick Evans
to the big leagues in late May, he is even more energized to stay on the path he created.
"Nick and I were together in Hawaii, roommates in Spring Training, roommates here so it's great to see a guy who works that hard get that opportunity it's really tremendous. I know it ignites me, fires me up, about who may be next to get called up and what I can do to put myself in the same situation."
" I just want to keep playing well. I need to keep having quality at-bats, play quality defense, drive in runs and make sure things fall my way," he closed.
Daniel Murphy got off a red-hot start in his first season in Double-A and ten weeks later, he continues to be a force in the heart of the Binghamton lineup. As one cog of the formidable B-Mets trio, Murphy has raised his stock with an impressive first half at the plate. He spoke to Inside Pitch to update why he has been so successful so far this season.