Three Up, Three Down: No Letup For Daniel Murphy
Each week, BA will take a look at the trends in major league baseball.
Daniel Murphy, 2B, Nationals
Remember when there was no way Murphy could keep up his caliber of performance from the 2015 NLCS? Well, it’s been almost two years now, and Murphy has been going strong the whole time. The 32-year-old is on pace to set new career highs in doubles, home runs and RBIs and overall is hitting .341/.395/.575 this season. Murphy was particularly hot in June, posting a 1.011 OPS to help the Nationals extend their lead to nine games in the NL East.
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers
Kershaw isn’t ready to surrender his mantle of best pitcher in baseball just yet. While Max Scherzer and Chris Sale have been undeniably exceptional this season, Kershaw has been world-class in his own right once again. The Dodgers lefty improved to 13-2, 2.19 after Tuesday’s seven shutout inning with 11 strikeouts performance and is beginning to round into his best form. In Kershaw’s last seven starts he is 6-0, 1.90 with 68 strikeouts, 12 walks, and 26 hits allowed in 47.1 innings.
Tim Beckham, SS/2B, Rays
It took the 2008 No. 1 overall pick some time to get here, but he is finally showing himself to be an everyday caliber big leaguer. In his first full year starting, the 27-year-old Beckham is hitting .277 with 11 home runs, 33 RBIs and a .766 OPS. While not a superstar by any means, Beckham is contributing in an everyday role to a team that is currently in a playoff spot.
Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates
Cole isn’t helping his trade value as the Pirates look to potentially deal their ace. The 2011 No. 1 overall pick has a 6.17 ERA since June 1. He has allowed 40 hits in 35 innings, struck out only 31 and walked 16. Cole has three and a half more weeks to the trade deadline to get untracked, otherwise the Pirates may not be able to find a deal they like for the 26-year-old.
Joe Biagini, RHP, Blue Jays
The Rule 5 pick was a revelation out of the Blue Jays bullpen last season, but his conversion to the rotation has not gone smoothly. Biagini began starting in early May and is 2-7, 5.60 in 11 starts. His ERA has risen from 2.78 to 5.03 in that time, and opponents are hitting .268 with a .742 OPS off him as a starter.
Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants
The Giants’ season just keeps getting worse and worse, and their longtime cornerstone isn’t helping. Crawford has hit just .187, second-lowest in the majors, since June 1. In that time the Giants have gone 11-18 to drop into the cellar in the NL West. While San Francisco has many other problems, Crawford’s performance is emblematic of the team’s stunning decline.