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Friday, December 25, 2015

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: DANIEL MURPHY 2B WASHINGTON NATIONALS

It was a Christmas Eve signing that brought forth some 2016 fantasy baseball news and it came in the form of Daniel Murphy agreeing to a three-year deal with the Washington Nationals.  As always let's dissect Murphy a bit more in terms of fantasy baseball for this season and beyond.

When it comes to projecting Murphy for 2016, there are two main lines of discussion here.  The first is that it is pretty easy to forecast what Murphy will do in terms of numbers in the fact that in signing with the Nats, he will remain in one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball.  In other words just like every previous year of his career with the New York Mets and their historically pitching-leaning ballpark.  Thus at the age of 31 in April and still in his prime, Murphy's numbers won't really change that much from what we saw in 2015.  Here was the statistical output for Murphy in his last season with the Mets:

.281
14 HR
73 RBI
56 R
2 SB

Solid but unspectacular were the numbers for Murphy but since second base remains pretty shallow in terms of the depth of talent, he snuck in the 10-12 range among the rankings and as a result held onto daily mixed league value in 12-team setups.  In dissecting the numbers, the one thing that has to discussed right off the bat is the fact that Murphy's mid-career stolen base uptick already seems finished as he swiped just two bags a year ago.  This fell well short of the 23 and 13 steals Murphy accumulated in the 2013 and 2014 seasons respectively.  Again at the age of 31 in April, Murphy is not likely to be running much at all so that category needs to be removed from his outlook and overall projected value for 2016. 

As far as the other numbers are concerned, Murphy's greatest strength has been his batting average as he is a tremendous contact hitter who hardly ever strikes out.  Last year was no different as Murphy struck out in a tiny 7.1 percent of his at-bats which is a phenomenal number.  For his career, Murphy is a .288 hitter and he should be right around that number again this season.  In addition, Murphy is very durable which means his counting statistics in runs and RBI will also be very solid as well, with both number being in the 60-80 range.  Again a nice number but not great either.  Finally, Murphy's home runs are up for a bit of debate after his ridiculous postseason power run with the Mets last October.  By now we all know Murphy went deep in six straight postseason games which caught a ton of hype.  However that was an extreme outlier performance as Murphy's career-high in home runs are the modest 14 he had last season.  Staying in a prime pitcher's park with the Nats, Murphy will not likely go much above that number if at all.  So 20 home runs is foolhardy to project based on the abilities of Murphy no matter what he did last fall.

When you put it all together, Daniel Murphy remains in the 8-12 range among 2016 fantasy baseball second baseman.  Again he is a good but not great option who will no doubt help you stay competitive.  Ultimately though Murphy is not a difference-maker in fantasy baseball and he needs to be projected in that way as we jog toward the new season.

2016 PROJECTION:  .289 15 HR 74 RBI 73 R 5 SB 

 

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