Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Now In Chicago, Is Daniel Murphy Primed To Make A Major Impact?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Nationals dealt Daniel Murphy yesterday, as they’ve seemingly fallen out of playoff contention and he is ticketed for free agency after the season.  The question is if he offers any type of impact potential for the Cubs, or is he simply depth and a valuable insurance policy for injuries and struggles?

In 103 AB since the All-Star Break he’s certainly looking like an impact bat, posting a strong line across the board:

.340 (35-103), 5 HR, 17 RBI, 11 R, 1 SB

He’s clearly gotten a little bit healthier, with a significant increase in his Hard% (14.6% to 33.6%) as well as his HR/FB (3.2% to 13.9%).  Those numbers certainly more closely reasonable what he had done in his first two seasons as a member of the Nationals:

Season
Hard%
HR/FB
Pull%
SwStr%
O-Swing%
201638.2%12.4%41.3%5.2%33.5%
201735.7%12.8%39.1%5.7%31.2%

Murphy is showing an even better approach, despite his struggles, as he owns a 4.4% SwStr% and 30.4% O-Swing% on the season.  Of course he’s been seeing more “Hard” pitches this season (65.10%), which could be in part due to his early season struggles.  That said the metrics are promising and only further point towards a strong finish.

It’s possible he was getting a little too pull happy in the first half of the season (43.9%), but he’s done a much better job of using the entire field in the second half:

  • Pull% – 31.2%
  • Cent% – 29.0%
  • Oppo% – 39.8%

With Addison Russell (.259/.326/.359) currently manning shortstop, the Cubs could easily shift Javier Baez over to make room for Murphy to play every day.  They also could conceivably give him time at 1B and/or 3B (especially with Kris Bryant currently on the DL), though that doesn’t seem quite as likely.

Regardless, with underlying metrics backing up his strong second half thus far (and his .341 BABIP isn’t unrealistic as he’s hitting the ball with authority and using the entire field.  Couple that with his strong approach and it’s easy to imagine strong results moving forward.  Even if the Cubs don’t necessarily view him as a starting option today, there’s little doubt that he’s going to force the issue.  Hopefully you stayed patient with him, as you should continue to reap the benefits.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, MLB.com

9 comments

  1. NH says:

    Would you drop Judge or Trevor Bauer for ROS?

  2. Marcus Storm says:

    Marwin Gonzalez or Tyler White ROS (H2H pts)?

  3. I81B4U says:

    12 team weekly H2H points strikeouts don’t matter.
    10 starters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OF, 2 Utility, and 7 bench.
    C – Grandal C
    1B – Hoskins 1B
    2B – M.Gonzales 2B
    3B – E.Suarez 3B
    F. Lindor SS
    J.Soto OF
    A.Garcia OF
    N. Williams OF
    S. Souza U
    T. Austin U
    BENCH:
    Justin Upton OF
    Jake Bauers 1B/OF
    Eloy Jimenez OF
    Tyler O’Neil OF
    E. Hernandez 1B,2B,SS,3B,OF,U
    B. Zobrist 2B,OF,U
    J. Bell 1B,U
    S.Schebler DL

    What’s up Prof,
    Who would you pick up, if any, and who would you drop? I have 3 moves I can make this week before playoffs start, and need a 2nd catcher as well.
    Melkly Cabrera, Willy Adames, Hunter Renfroe, Tyler White, Kevin Pillar, Jeff McNeil, Ramon Laureano are all available.

    Because I’m a bit weak at 2B, I was thinking Jeff McNeil and drop Ben Zobrist. For catcher I was thinking Danny Jansen, and for my last move, Tyler White, and drop Josh Bell.

    One more thing, but it’s important. We have two relievers per lineup. Mine happen to be Seranthony Dominguez and A.J.Minter. Both are questionable. I have an opportunity to pick up Leclerc, Hildenberger, Osuna, or Givens. I was leaning on picking up Leclerc and dropping Minter.

    We can’t make pickups once the playoffs start.

    Thanks

  4. I81B4U says:

    Forgot to mention that Lourdes Gurriel is available as well.
    2B: Gurriel or J. McNeil?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’d def. pick up McNeil and at least 1 RP (Leclerc & Osuna are easy grabs). I’m also a big fan of Renfroe, and would prefer him to White (though I’d keep Bell)

      • I81B4U says:

        Sounds reasonable. Drop Bauers instead of Bell. My last concern is Catcher. I have Grandal, but he is being benched against lefties. LA’s remaining schedule has them facing 13 LHP’s out of their last 30 games. Jansen, Maldanado, Garver, Hedges, and B.McCann are available.

        I still think I would get more points out of the other positions than C though.

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          I love Jansen and think he’s well worth owning.

          I’m not opposed to dropping Bauers if there isn’t keeper implications but I still like the upside

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