Donnie Murphy? Why?


I’m not in the business of taking jabs at other Florida Marlins blogs. In fact, Craig and GameFish of FishStripes and Ted and Dave of Marlins Diehards are some excellent folks who do some really good work in their niche of the Marlins (limited) blogosphere. But this comment from Craig at FishStripes is a little puzzling to me:

These are things that will be worked in Spring Training, but I will say this: if Donnie Murphy is healthy and he is not on the 25-man roster, I will be pissed. And I don’t think that I am the only one.

He is speaking in regards to the currently vacant third base job (I am considering it vacant because I believe neither Emilio Bonifacio nor Matt Dominguez are ready to take on that job). My question is why we care all that much about Donnie Murphy? This is Donnie Murphy in a nutshell:

Murphy, Career PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA fWAR
411 .206 .275 .385 .288 -0.1

Unfortunately, I think a lot of fans are seeing this:

Murphy, 2010 PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA fWAR
47 .318 .348 .705 .443 0.8

Now, neither of these estimates are very good at telling me what Murphy will do next season, but I have to believe the 411 career PA say a ltitle bit more than the 47 power-packed, clutch PA from last season. Still, is there any reason to believe that Murphy is anything other than a Quad-A player, just another guy from the minors?  He’s bounced around a few organizations and gotten nowhere despite tearing up Triple-A pitching (in his late 20′s). How is he any different than, say, Brian Barden, who is a career .292/.352/.444 hitter in seven seasons (2758 PA!) but is a career .211/.268/.303 hitter (.252 wOBA) in the majors? Could it be that, in his 37 major league PA with the Marlins in 2010, he only hit .179/.281/.179, and thus didn’t earn the interest of Marlins fans?

Anything can happen in less than 50 PA. A player can look terrible or great, and there won’t be much predictive value going forward. The Marlins are close enough to contention that they should be considering a name in the outfield like Scott Hairston who could push a Donnie Murphy or Emilio Bonifacio to the minors, rather than settling on who they have right now and hoping for the best. This extends not only to who the last guy is on the bench but to who the team mans as their final starter on the infield.

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Tags: Donnie Murphy Miami Marlins

  • Isiah

    i think your focus on career numbers may be an issue. (as an aside, can you get career pinch hitting numbers for murphy? how about after 7th-inning?)
    Based on last year, i think he would make a much better pinch-hitter than helms, and possibly a better every-day 3rd baseman. he’s athletic, and has hit in the clutch, so maybe the bounced around 417 pa sample size isn’t enough, or maybe he changed something.
    there are plenty of players (see infante, cody ross and similar) who started out with bad major league stats due to a number of reasons (including limited opportunities or bad fits/batting order slots), but grew better over some time with a good opportunity. Murphy is young and has shown a spark (plus he’s already a fan favorite), so i also hope they give him a spring training chance if he’s not injured.

    • Michael Jong

      Isiah,

      The splits you requested:

      As a PH: 33 PA (21 from last season), .267/.313/.600

      But with only 33 PA, there’s no way you can derive anything from his performance. Admittedly, neither is that 411 PA sample, so I could be wrong of course. My point is that people are getting riled up about 47 PA of good performance by a journeyman infielder who has otherwise never shown anything. Is he worth a bench spot? Maybe. But let’s not demand that he get his bench spot because he hit well in a LIMITED amount of opportunities last year. He’s 28 years old next season, so he’s at his peak. I don’t think we can expect a huge change. A Spring Training chance is just fine, of course.

  • John Herold

    CHONE’s August update had him at an upper-700 OPS, though that’s down now so I can’t say the exact number. ZiPS has him at just .711, but that’s also with a .276 BABIP – and considering his high MLB LD% (20.2%), good career MILB BABIP (.325), and good xBABIP (.307 with ZiPS #s + career batted ball data), I certainly believe he can produce at least a .300 BABIP which would push him up to the mid .700 OPS range.

    Out of the internal options, he’s the best option for third in my opinion.

  • marty Weisberg

    I totally agree Murphy was great pinch- hitting and bringing runners home with good at bats.