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On David Murphy

I feel compelled to write about this, because of the overreaction David Murphy's recent play has generated from some fans. I've seen some comments that minor league numbers don't matter if you can hit in the majors, that he's proving he can hit in the majors, that Botts and Cruz should be moved aside so that Murphy can get more playing time, and that Rudy has fixed him...

First of all, you can see Murphy's career minor league numbers here.

For those who don't want to click the link, a summary:

In high A, at age 22: 669 OPS
In AA, at age 23: 767 OPS
In AA, at age 24: 751 OPS
In AAA, at age 24: 802 OPS
In AAA, at age 25: 770 OPS

In 1902 minor league ABs, Murphy has a career 750 OPS.

Those are pretty mediocre numbers...particularly given that he wasn't particularly young for his level at any stop.

PECOTA's 50% projections over the next few years peg him at an EQA in the .240s, which would be mediocre 4th outfielder level performance. His 75% projections peg him in the .260s, which would make him a good 4th outfielder or a mediocre/weak starting centerfielder.

Since coming to Texas, Murphy has 26 plate appearances. In those 26 plate appearances, he has posted a .462/.462/.731 line. And for some reason, some fans seem to believe that Murphy's last 26 plate appearances are more indicative of what he can do than the over 2000 plate appearances he had in the majors and minors since he turned pro.

26 plate appearances doesn't tell you anything. Matt Kata hit .387/.424/.613 in his first 34 plate appearances for the Rangers this year. Ramon Vazquez hit .524/.560/1.000 in his first 25 plate appearances for the Rangers this year. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit .345/.441/.483 over a 34 plate appearance span soon after arriving to the Rangers in 2006.

Now, there is some reason to hope that Murphy could be a useful player. Murphy had a solid .299/.370/.466 line against righthanders for Pawtucket, and plays good defense, so he could be a decent platoon option in centerfield or rightfield. And he certainly could be a late bloomer, a guy who puts it together later in his career and becomes a solid regular. I'm fine with Murphy getting some ABs the rest of the way, and being in the outfield mix for 2008.

But let's quit getting worked up about his numbers so far as a Ranger. Projecting what a player can or will do based on 26 plate appearances is about as reliable as projecting based on the I, Ching or cutting open a goat and reading its entrails.

Update [2007-8-26 13:24:48 by Adam J. Morris]: -- One other point on Murphy, which I was going to make and then forgot...

Here are the pitchers he has gotten hits off of this season:

Daniel Cabrera

Edwin Jackson

Jason Hammel

Felix Hernandez

Paul Shuey

John Bale

Rob Bell

Brian Burres

Justin Hampson

Jon Switzer

Jamie Walker

Dan Wheeler

It is hard to argue that he's a better hitter as a major leaguer than as a minor leaguer when he's hitting against mostly minor league caliber pitchers...