Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mets Spring Training Watch: Daniel Murphy and Eddie Kunz

Like all fellow Mets fans, I'm tracking the games, reading the box scores and following my favorite team during spring training. However, there are two players I'm really watching: Daniel Murphy and Eddie Kunz.

I think DMurph could be the gamer the Mets are looking for. He's going to get plenty of opportunities to shine in spring training and to start the season. Jerry Manuel even said this week he's "a better hitter than Ryan Church." I know Church isn't Tony Gwynn, but he is a .280 hitter with 5 years of experience and Murphy hasn't played a full season yet.

Murphy played well for the Mets last year following his minor league call-up. He was the spark-plug the Mets needed. In 49 games and 131 at bats, DMurph hit 9 doubles, 2 home runs, had a .313 average and finished with 17 RBIs. He's a former 13th round draft pick (2006) that never had all the hype, but worked liked like he was full of expectations.

I'd like to see Murphy batting in the #2 spot behind Jose Reyes and in front of Carlos Beltran. (Jerry Manuel's been talking a lot of garbage about the batting order lately though.) Murphy is left handed and will serve as a great visual shield to the catcher when Jose Reyes is leading off first base. He should also get a solid diet of fastballs with Reyes on first and Beltran hitting behind him. Pitchers are less likely to throw off-speed pitches when Reyes is on the bases and they don't want to risk walking Murphy and having two guys on base for Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Carlos Delgado.

Like most young hitters, Murphy's a good fastball hitter. This will give him a great shot at skipping a hit through the hole on the right side of the infield.
Daniel Murphy will get his first spring training games as the starting left fielder for the Mets Wednesday, Feb. 25 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Eddie Kunz has all the stuff of a first round draft pick (2007), but without the control. Kunz had a chance to impress the Mets during his call-up last year, but he seemed to catch the same control virus that spread through the entire bullpen last season. In only 4 games, Kunz pitched less than 3 innings, but found a way to compete the stat sheet! He gave up 5, hits, 4 earned runs, 1 home run, 1 walk, 1 strike out, 1 player hit by a pitch, two wild pitches, an era near 14 and a 2.25 WHIP. Whew!

Kunz doesn't have much of a chance to make the club out of spring training, but he has a great opportunity to push last season's control problems out of the minds of Mets management. And when you consider the arm problems in JJ Putz's past and the workload history of KRod, Kunz could find himself back in the arms of Omar Minaya. Eddie Kunz will get his first chance Thursday, Feb. 26. He's scheduled to be the 5th pitcher in a spring training game against the Florida Marlins.


deal said...

I like Murphs Chances to make the team and produce. The Mets need to go with somebody younger in the outfield and Murphy as put up decent minor lg numbers.

JRJ said...

What? You didn't like watching Moises Alou hobble around out there?! ugh.

I also like the story of the 36 yr old Valerio de los Santos who has a spring training invite with them. Bob Klapisch had a good article about him yesterday. It's that kind of story that makes spring training interesting.