There are many positional battles and lineup combinations that are possible for the Mets going into the 2014 season but one player that has a stranglehold on his position both in the field and in the lineup it is Daniel Murphy. Murphy will be the Mets starting second baseman entering the season and he will very likely be the number two hitter in the Mets lineup. Murphy has cemented himself in both spots with his play over the past few years.
Murphy began his Mets career as a player without a defensive position but after his move to second base after failed experiments in the corner outfield positions and first base he has settled in nicely at second base. Murphy will never become a gold glove caliber second baseman, but watching him play every day he is not a defensive liability at second. The added bonus is that, while he is a productive hitter, he does not hit with very much power, so his bat projects much more favorably at second than it would in the outfield or at first where power numbers are much more important.
Murphy had his most productive season at the plate in 2013 from a run producing standpoint, hitting 13 homers and driving in 78 runs while batting .286, only four points lower than his career .290 average. He also set a career high in hits with 188, which was second in the National League last year. Although he has a well deserved reputation as a poor base runner, he does make some head scratching decisions on the base paths from time to time, Murphy lead the National League in stolen base percentage last season when he was successful in over 88% of his stolen base attempts and finished seventh in steals with 23.
The 28 year old Murphy is a fan favorite amongst the Orange and Blue faithful, something that can be attributed to his undeniable hustle. Murphy is not a perfect player by any stretch, he has a WAR below 2 each of the last two seasons as the Mets every day second baseman, but watching him play the game every day he seems like a player who should have a rating higher than that.