Fantasy Baseball Reaction: Rockies deal should renew optimism for Daniel Murphy
Daniel Murphy was far from a trendy name heading into 2019 drafts, but his move to Colorado should restore enthusiasm for him, according to Scott White.
Namely that corporate-sponsored one with the 50,000-seat capacity.
Rarely has a skill set been more perfectly suited for a venue. Murphy makes a ton of contact. He hits a ton of line drives. It's fair to assume, then, he'll be splitting those cavernous outfield gaps all the livelong day.
That's one aspect of Coors Field that's often overlooked. It's not just the ease with which batted balls sail over the fence. It's the measures the Rockies have had to take to stop it, namely pushing their fences to a place that leaves too much terrain for three men to cover. In other words, their outfield is a natural BABIP booster.
And Murphy doesn't really need any help in that regard. He's one of the preeminent line-drive hitters in the game, which means the BABIP boost comes standard. His was right around .345 during his two glory years in Washington, where he hit .347 in 2016 and .322 in 2017.
What it means is he's probably the early favorite to win the NL batting title, health permitting, and in Head-to-Head points leagues, where his low strikeout total and proclivity for doubles actually have value in their own right, his ceiling is that of a first-rounder.
But you'll notice I didn't mention what he did in 2018, nor did I point out he went in the 10th round in each of our first two mock drafts for 2019, one a points league and the other a standard 5x5. Obviously, you can't draft him like a first-rounder because there are risks here that go well beyond performance. He missed the first 2 1/2 months last year after having microfracture surgery on his knee and was slow to come around thereafter. Even during his late-season stint with the Cubs, his numbers weren't what we're used to seeing from him, and considering he'll be 34 this year, there's a chance they never will be.
But this move should restore some of the optimism, which shouldn't have been totally defeated anyway. After all, his strikeout rate was as good as ever in 2018. Ditto his line-drive rate. He actually did a better job of hitting the ball to all fields than in prior years, so you could make the case he actually had bad BABIP luck.
The risks aren't any less with Colorado, but the ceiling again seems attainable. And seeing as second base trails all other infield spots in terms of depth, Murphy is back to being a welcome gamble on Draft Day. This move lifts him two spots in my second base rankings, ahead of Travis Shaw and Gleyber Torres, to make him sixth at the position.
And for now at least, Murphy's arrival doesn't block any of the Rockies' most intriguing up-and-comers, as some have suggested. The Rockies are reportedly most interested in playing him at first base, where his glove is better suited these days, which frees Ian Desmond to fill Carlos Gonzalez's void in the outfield. Garrett Hampson, the odds-on favorite to replace DJ LeMahieu at second base, may occasionally cede his spot to Murphy, but if he excels as a base-stealer as hoped, he'll be invaluable in Rotisserie leagues regardless.
True, there wouldn't seem to be an opening for Ryan McMahon anymore, but the way the Rockies have been linked to most every first baseman on the market this offseason, it was a foregone conclusion.
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