Daniel Murphy, the much bally-hooed Mets LF, has been known, over his 131 professional AB’s, as strictly a hitter.
What should be realized, is that Murphy is not only a student of hitting, and a diligent worker, but he takes that diligence with him into the field. Murphy, who was drafted as a 3B, switched to LF on the pro level. The Mets had made late inning defensive replacements last year for Murphy, but this year is different.
Mets 3B coach Razor Shines has been working with Murphy on his fielding, and had this to say about his young pupil, “He’s the kind of a guy who understands the game of baseball, and he knows he’s got to get better defensively. He’s just a tireless worker. He’s different. You don’t have to tell him but once. The Mets might have stumbled on something really good.”
Murphy, showing more comprehension as to what he needs to do to be successful than many veterans, had this to offer, “You can’t just hit, you’ve got to play defense.”
To help his progression as a LF, this off-season Murphy took speed-training classes. This will help him get jumps on the ball, to cut off extra base hits, and possible putouts. Murphy, continuing to show his intelligence and understanding of the situation said, that he is trying to help Carlos Beltran, so that Beltran doesn’t have to cover more ground to compensate for Murphy’s inadequacies.
General Manuel’s take: “It’s going to be quite a challenge for him, but he’ll be up to the task.”
It is already paying off. Yesterday Murphy made a barehanded play off a ball hit by the Braves Clint Sammons. Sammons hit a ball off the wall. Murphy grabbed the ball barehanded, and made the throw to Jose Reyes. The relay barley missed getting Sammons out at second. A vast improvement from last year, and with this kids work ethic, I have no doubt he will be a quality professional left-fielder.
Source: Joe LaPointe - NY Times