We never get tired of watching Daniel Murphy hit... now that he’s a National. He apparently never gets tired of talking about hitting, according to a reports from numerous sources.
We also never get tired of hearing other people talk about Murphy’s transformation from a steady .288 hitter during his time in New York into the player who’s put up a .346 AVG in 208 games and 873 plate appearances since he signed his 3-year/$37.5M free agent deal with Washington.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this week about the changes Murphy made late in his time with the Mets that helped to turn him into the hitter he is today.
Through 66 games and 291 PAs this season, the 32-year-old infielder has put up a gaudy .346/.399/.575 line which is close to the .347/.390/.595 line he put up during 2017’s run at the National League’s batting title and the NL MVP award.
“When you talk to him about it,” Rizzo told the Junkies, “his hitting coach [Kevin] Long over there [in New York] was instrumental in kind of tweaking his approach to hitting where they got him more on top of the plate, looking inside, looking to really do a lot of damage when he’s ahead in the count, like he is so often, instead of — he always uses the whole field, he’s always been a good .285-.290 hitter — but I think now he’s looking at a different kind of a mindset that, ‘I’m ahead in the count, I’m going to look to really pull this ball and to do some damage, and to maybe hit the ball in the air.’”
Rizzo reiterated that Murphy is a player who has embraced the analytics that are now available to players and fans alike, and learned from what he’s seen and been able to apply it.
“Launch angles, he’s big into all the analytics, he’s a very intelligent player,” Rizzo said.
“He’s kind of another hitting coach on the bench and I think all that came into play in the last like two months that he was with the Mets, going through the last part of the season, then through the playoffs, and he just has taken that to a new level with us.
“I think that studying a lot, looking at the analytics, kind of dissecting his swing, and he’s really become kind of a hitting savant, if you will, within the clubhouse, and talks to a lot of hitters about hitting, he knows it, he really has dove into the mechanics and to the analytics of it and he’s really become a student of the art of hitting.”
At home in the nation’s capital, where the Nationals’ start a seven-game homestand tonight, Murphy has a .304/.355/.429 line with eight of his 21 doubles, two of his 12 home runs and 14 of 49 runs batted in on the season.
Murphy’s back in at second this afternoon after a day off on Wednesday in the series finale with Miami.
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR TODAY’S SERIES OPENER WITH THE REDS:
NOTE: So, yeah, Wilmer Difo in center field, huh? Also I don’t like it when people write centerfield as one word. Just thought I’d share that.