Before this past Christmas, the Washington Nationals received an early present by signing second baseman Daniel Murphy away from the divisional rival New York Mets. Washington needed to fill a void at second base and they did just that by acquiring Murphy.
At the All-Star break, Murphy leads the MLB with a .348 batting average. He ranks third in slugging percentage (.598), fifth in RBIs (66) and sixth in OPS (.985). He leads the Nationals in hits (117 – 4th in MLB). RBIs and doubles (25). Superstar Bryce Harper is second on the team in RBIs with 52.
Not only is Murphy getting it done at the dish, he is also getting it done in the field. In 87 games this season, Murphy has committed just six errors, which helps the Nats lead the MLB in fewest errors committed at 33.
The Mets are surely wishing they had kept Murphy, after drafting him in the 13th round back in 2006. Murphy spent his first seven MLB years with the Mets. In 2016, he has absolutely haunted his former team. The Nats and Mets have squared off 13 times this season with six more games remaining against one another. Murphy as torched the only other team he has played for. He has a slash line of .423/.446/.885 with an OPS of 1.331, seven home runs, 11 runs and 21 RBIs against his former squad.
This is all coming off a historic postseason that helped lead the Mets to the World Series where they would eventually lose to the Kansas City Royals. Murphy had a slash line of .328/.391/.724 with an OPS of 1.115, 19 hits, 11 RBIs and seven home runs. Of those seven home runs, Murphy went deep in a record-setting six-straight games.
Murphy has helped lead the Nats to the best record in the National League East at 54-36. Washington currently leads the Mets and Miami Marlins by six games in the division.
For the Nats sake, they are hoping Murphy can help avoid another late-season divisional lead. Last season, Washington seemed to have the NL East wrapped up before having an all-time collapse, allowing Murphy and the Mets to cruise on past them to the postseason.
There is still plenty of baseball to be played, but so far, the investment of a new second baseman in paying off handsomely for the Nationals.