Jacksonville University Baseball
Throughout his career, coaches often moved Daniel Murphy around the diamond defensively. However, when it came to offense, Murphy knew where he was supposed to play. In fact, at the first team meeting of Murphy’s freshman year at JU, Coach Terry Alexander asked each player to introduce himself by name and what position he played in the field. Murphy let his coach and teammates know where he played. “I’m Daniel Murphy from Englewood High School, and I bat third.”
Hitting has always been Murphy’s strength and he showcased that talent throughout his ASUN career with the Dolphins. As a freshman, Murphy hit .377 and slugged .506 in a limited role. The following year, he earned a starting role and drove in 31 runs, while once again hitting better than .300.
His breakout season came in 2006, in his final season with the Dolphins. Murphy batted .398, had a career-best of six home runs and drove in 55 runs on his way to the ASUN Player of the Year honor.
Additionally, the left-handed hitter has always possessed a flair for the dramatic. Entering the 2006 ASUN Championship with a knee injury, Murphy came off the bench to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth against Campbell with runners on the corners in a tied game. On his first swing, Murphy hit it off the top of the fence. With the injury, he could only limp to first.
A few weeks later, the Mets drafted Murphy in the 13th round of the 2006 draft. He finished the 2006 summer in rookie and Class A ball before heading to the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League for the 2007 season. Murphy slugged 11 home runs and was promoted to AA in 2008, where he showcased his hitting ability once more. After driving in 67 runs and hitting 13 long balls, Murphy got the call to the big league after only one game at AAA.
Murphy’s first full season in the MLB was in 2009 as the left-hander played in 155 games at first base. His hitting kept him in the lineup, but it wasn’t until the 2012 season that he earned the starting job at second base for the Mets. He rewarded the organization’s trust in him by hitting .280 or better from 2012-15 and exploding during the 2015 postseason.
He led the Mets on an improbable postseason run in 2015, where he batted .328, slugged seven home runs, added 11 RBI and became the first major leaguer to homer in six consecutive postseason games. In his first MLB postseason appearance, Murphy delivered on the biggest stage as he earned NLCS MVP honors after hitting .529 with four homers and six runs batted in. His play led the Mets back to the World Series for the first time since 2000. The Jacksonville, Fla., native became a household name nationwide.
The two-time All-Star became a coveted free agent following his 2015 breakout postseason performance and division rival Washington successfully wooed the 31-year-old infielder. Coming off a career year in 2015, Murphy continues to impress in his seventh year in MLB. He hit .347 in 2016, blasting 25 home runs and driving in 104 runs in helping the Nationals to the NL East crown. Murphy ranks in the top-five of four statistical categories in the National League, including first in slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage.
From ASUN Player of the Year to NLCS MVP, Murphy is known as one who constantly works at his craft. He has overcome several injury setbacks in his career and is now reaping the rewards. However, Murphy remembers from whence he came, and continues to spend his offseasons attending practices with the Dolphins to provide the next generation of hitters valuable insight.