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2015 Mets season review: Daniel Murphy

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The Mets' king of consistency looked like his normal self during the regular season, before going crazy for a few weeks in October.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

If there was ever a case study on year-to-year consistency in baseball, you'd have to expect Daniel Murphy to be the subject. If 2015 was Murphy's last season with the club, then he performed admirably, putting up career-consistent numbers in the regular season, despite being asked to play multiple roles because of injuries. In his first trip to the playoffs, Murphy shined, becoming a baseball-destroying machine in October before a hard fall in the World Series.

Daniel Murphy started his 2015 season off flatly. While the club was in the depths of an 11-game winning streak and a strong March and April, Murphy flailed at the plate early on, hitting only .198/.258/.346 in the season's early going. Things improved quite a bit after that, as Murphy hit .330/.378/.417 in May.

Murphy found himself striking the ball into early June when a quadriceps injury sidelined him for 26 days. Murphy rejoined the club for a pivotal home series against the Cubs—a sweep where Murphy hit the ball well—and an all-important West Coast trip where the Mets went 4-2, but Murphy hit the ball poorly. He posted a woeful 67 wRC+ in July, but his fortunes, as well as the Mets', would turn at the trade deadline.

When Washington came to town at the beginning of August, it was being hailed as the biggest series ever at Citi Field. Murphy put his stamp on that series when the Mets, searching for a sweep on Sunday Night Baseball, hit three home runs in the third inning against Jordan Zimmermann, with Murphy belting the second─ the tail end of back-to-back blasts—which sent Citi Field into a frenzy. It propelled Murphy into a strong August where he hit .311/.333/.538, and would carry his production through September and to the end of the regular season.

For all that can be said about Murphy's strong last two months of the regular season, it will pale in comparison to Murphy's first two career postseason series. Murphy homered in the Mets' first postseason game in nine years, and he went on to hit seven home runs in the playoffs, setting the Mets record for home runs in a postseason and falling one shy of the MLB record. He homered in six straight playoff games, between Game 4 of the NLDS at Citi Field and the NLCS clincher in Chicago. Murphy collected 19 total hits in 64 plate appearances, hitting an excellent .328/.391/.724. Keep in mind that Murphy has only 62 career regular season home runs, and played three full seasons in which he had fewer than seven home runs.

Murphy's play tailed off in World Series, where he only recorded three hits in 25 plate appearances. Unfortunately for him, much of his fantastic play down the stretch will be overshadowed by his crucial error in the eighth inning of World Series Game 4, which proved to be one of the costliest plays in World Series history in terms of win expectancy. The mediocre defense from Murphy was not unexpected, however, as according to Fangraphs, Murphy posted a -3.3 UZR/150 at second base during the regular season for the Mets in 572.1 innings, and a 0.8 UZR/150 in 352.0 innings at third base. Baseball Reference was even less kind, marking him at -6 defensive runs saved (DRS) in the regular season, which placed him 149th out of 155 qualifying players.

If this was Daniel Murphy's last season in orange and blue, he'll be remembered as a homegrown player who helped the Mets get back to their competitive ways, and always gave maximum effort. His 2015 line of .281/.322/.449, with a 110 wRC+ was slightly better than his career line of .288/.331/.424 with a 109 wRC+. Murphy performed well, filling in for David Wright at third base for much of the year, and for Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer at first base when needed. The Mets have moved on from Murphy, but we should be able to look back his time with the Mets fondly, and especially his few stellar weeks in October.