For the second straight season, Washington Nationals’ second baseman Daniel Murphy claimed the NL Silver Slugger award at second base.
Murphy, 32, put up a .322/.384/.543 line with 43 doubles, 23 home runs, and 136 wRC+ in 144 games and 593 plate appearances over which he was worth 4.3 fWAR.
In 2016, when he won his first Silver Slugger, Murphy put up similar numbers, with a .347/.390/.595 line, 47 doubles, 25 home runs, and 155 wRC+ in 142 games and 582 plate appearances, over which he was worth 5.5 fWAR.
Murphy finished second in the race for the NL batting title for the second consecutive season with his .322 AVG, was tied for first in the National League in doubles, and led the majors with a .409 AVG with runners in scoring position on the season, going 47 for 115 with nine doubles, two triples, five homers and 24 walks with RISP on the season.
“We are thrilled to see Daniel honored again for the outstanding and consistent production he brings to our club day-in and day-out,” Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said in a press release on Murphy’s award. “The Nationals organization is proud to have established quite a tradition of Silver Slugger Award winners, and we are excited to see Daniel honored appropriately once again.”
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Murphy said. “I am extremely proud to be considered among this group of talented players. To be recognized by opposing coaches and managers for the way I play the game is quite a compliment and I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches, medical staff, and support staff for their assistance in helping me achieve this award. I would also be remiss if I did not thank my family for their immense support: my wife, Tori, and our three beautiful children, Noah, Quinn, and Drew. They are what drives me each and every day.”
The Nats’ second baseman signed a 3-year/$37.5M deal with Washington in January of 2016, after seven seasons with the New York Mets, and he’s earned the Silver Slugger at second in each of his first two seasons with the Nationals.
Now-former Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker talked this past season about what has allowed Murphy to take it to another level over the last few seasons, deep into his career in the majors.
“Murph, he works. He works on it,” Baker said in June.
“He talks it, he lives it, he’s always talking hitting, so now is the time when guys usually get their selves together and they learn who they are and they learn at this age what they can do and what they can’t do.”
Will Murphy be in D.C. beyond 2018, or is the upcoming season out last opportunity to watch and admire his professional approach at the plate?
SILVER SLUGGER NOTE: As a press release on tonight’s award announcement notes, the Silver Slugger awards are, “... decided by a vote of Major League Baseball managers and coaches who select the players they determine to be the best offensive producers at each position in the American and National Leagues. Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the managers’ and coaches’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.”