Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Murph at First…At Last

Posted by JD on May 21, 2009

As heard today on WFAN, Jerry Manuel will be giving Daniel Murphy his first Major League start at first base tonight. I’m excited to see it because I think its a bit overdue. Why not start the kid who played first in the minors over the career third baseman (Fernando Tatis) or the career left fielder (Jeremy Reed)? Seemed like a no-brainer…until I checked out Murphy’s page on Baseball Reference.

Turns out that Murph (if I may call him that) has only played 13 games at first. In his entire career (and in AA, at that). To put that in perspective, Tatis has played 20 games there in the past two years alone (to be fair, only 25 overall). Granted, Murph has more professional experience at the position than Reed, but it’s not a huge difference.

That was news to me.  Doesn’t mean Murph can’t establish himself there. His work ethic is well known and I’m sure he’ll pick it up. But it does highlight another issue: Murph is ALWAYS working on his defense.

That’s a compliment, however backhanded it may be. But facts are facts and the fact is this: defense will never be a strength for Murphy. He can work his way into proficiency, but he’ll always struggle with the glove.

* Devil’s Advocate: Carlos Delgado was similarly limited…and still has a shot at 500 home runs. So it may all be moot.

But let’s all try to keep this fact in mind, especially over the next four games. We love Murph’s bat…can we agree to at least try to ignore his defensive growing pains this time? Because if we can’t, we might have to collectively acknowledge one more fact: the Mets play in the National League. With no DH to hide it, Murph’s glove might force the Mets to give up on him.

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