Second Base — Daniel Murphy vs. Neil Walker
Let’s play a game of guess the career slash line:
Player 1: .288/.331/.424 with an OPS+ of 110
Player 2: .272/.338/.431 with an OPS+ of 113
Player 1 is Murphy and Player 2 is Walker. They’re very similar players. Murphy improved his power rather dramatically last year, hitting 14 home runs in 130 games to best his old career high of 13 (achieved in 161 games in 2013). Walker hit only 16 home runs last year, but did hit 23 in 2014. Murphy’s power surge in the playoffs helped propel the Mets to the World Series, but he should not be counted on for much more than 15-20 homers this season. Walker will about do the same. Walker draws a few more free passes, but strikes out more frequently. Neither is blessed with great speed on the basepaths. The only real mark against Murphy is his defense, which was painfully clear in the World Series.
If both players are essentially the same offensively, and Walker is a worse defender, give the edge to the Mets’ second baseman.
The Verdict: Walker