Josh Hamilton Out – Enter David Murphy

Earlier today, we learned that Josh Hamilton would miss six-to-eight weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his humorous bone. Check that, humerus – it’s not very funny for Rangers fans and Hamilton owners, after all. Badumching. What does this mean for the Rangers? We’ll be right along with plenty of waiver wire replacements, but the Rangers will obviously need to move things around.

First up, David Murphy. Murphy will probably play every day in the outfield for the next two months, and if you go back and pro-rate out his previous years, he looks like he could hit 20+ home runs and steal 10+ bases in a full year. That makes him an immediate pickup in most leagues, so run go get him. But! There is an asterisk. Murphy is a lefty, and the team has avoided playing him every day in the past. He has a career .266/.307/.385 line against southpaws, compared to .289/.356/.490 against righties. That’s only in about 400ish plate appearances so far, so it’s not statistically reliable, but just looking from his usage patterns, it looks like the team thinks that he might have issues against lefties. That’s enough for me to sit him against lefties in mixed leagues, if I can. He’s not quite an every-day mixed-league starter, even if he’s a great bench get.

What will the team do against lefties if they don’t start Murphy? For sure, Mike Napoli has been taking first base at-bats from Mitch Moreland against lefties, but since Moreland is a lefty, it doesn’t make much sense to expect Moreland in the outfield. If the team plays Murphy, expect a lower batting average overall while he’s in there. Maybe Moreland does end up in the outfield some games, though – his minor league splits against lefties were not so stark that they predicted he would be a platoon player in the major leagues. According to Driveline Baseball, his total minor league MLE versus lefties was .241/.310/.362, and versus righties that line was .239/.293/.376. If any long-term good comes out of this, it might be that the team is forced to play Moreland against lefties and he performs ably enough to become an everyday player at first base.

Chris Davis is supposedly a healthy scratch from his minor league game and might be coming up to the majors, but even though he’s raking right now in Triple-A (.435/1.095/1.530), he of course comes with a moon-sized asterisk, his 34.5% career strikeout rate. Also, he’s not an outfielder, but maybe he can grab a glove. AL-only owners will probably still want to wait and see before picking him up.

Print This Post

Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

7 Responses to “Josh Hamilton Out – Enter David Murphy”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. rotofan says:

    One other impact: Julio Borbon just got a substantially longer leash. Given his poor defense during ST and his slow start in April, he needs it. With Hamilton gone, it may take some pressure off him and that could lead to better play.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. BT says:

    any chance Napoli, who has swung the bat well in limited at bats, sees more playing time out of this?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Eric says:

    Chris Davis is, to me, the definition of a AAAA player. Alwasy looks great in minors, always does nothing in majors (except strike out three times a game). Steer clear.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • rotofan says:

      Eric –

      Davis in 2010 .285/.331/.549 in 317 plate appearances.

      If that’s nothing I’m sure a lot of clubs would like more of nothing.

      Davis played big chunks of two season in the majors. The first, above, he put up impressive stats; the second his k-rate jumped by one-third and he really struggled. His third season he struggled but only played a fraction.

      He may not enjoy success long-term but its simply wrong to claim he’d done nothing in the majors.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dandy Salderson says:

      I differ on the definition of an AAAA player. For me, the ultimate AAAA player is Nelson Cruz, which is to say that AAAA doesnt exist.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. troy says:

    At the start of Spring training there was talk of moving M. Young to the outfield in order to get him additional playing time by giving days off to the regulars. There is a good chance that Young sees some time out there and gains another position. This could also lead to more ABs for Napoli as the DH as Young will find more time on the field.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • cardhorn says:

      Young won’t ever have to play the OF. Moreland can play OF on days when an outfielder needs a day off. The only reason Young would play OF is if the Rangers wanted to rest two OFs (2 of Murphy, Borbon, and Cruz) on the same day. But I don’t see that happening until another OF is called up (most likely Gentry or Chavez) and the team goes back to a 7-man bullpen (which will probably happen sometime soon). In any event, unless some disaster strikes, Young won’t play OF.

      And, as the roster is currently constructed, with no other back-up catcher, Napoli won’t DH much, if ever. Napoli’s playing time should stay about the same (some 1B and some C). Murphy slides into Hamilton’s spot. Chris Davis takes the ABs that Murphy had.

      Vote -1 Vote +1