Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Sunday, September 27, 2009
Do Mets need HR at 1B?


In the service of promoting Daniel Murphy as the Mets' First Baseman of the Future, the Times' Jim Luttrell constructs a straw man that I can't resist setting a match to: This argument is risible.

First, anybody who says a first baseman has to hit home runs is an idiot.

Second, it's hard to win a lot of games with a first baseman who can't hit (the Dodgers this year being a notable exception).

Third, anybody who thinks Daniel Murphy can hit really isn't paying close attention.

This season, 23 major league first basemen have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Among them, Murphy ranks 20th in slugging percentage and 22nd in on-base percentage. He's just not getting the job done, and isn't likely to. You can compare him to James Loney, except James Loney isn't getting the job done, either. You can compare him to Keith Hernandez and John Olerud, except Hernandez and Olerud were both on-base machines. Olerud posted a .425 OBP in his three seasons as a Met; Hernandez a .387 OBP in his seven seasons.