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Texas Rangers OF David Murphy: What Are His Chances?

by acr, a Fake Teams member:

So this guy has done nothing but hit since Texas got him last year in the Gagne trade.  He seems to not be on the radar of most fantasy leaguers.  This Spring the guy has not missed a beat.  Last year's numbers came as a surprise- .340/.382/.534 with the Rangers in 103 ab's.  Not much power but he did hit 12 doubles, that can be translated into some power numbers.  Maybe not 30+ HR potential but I think he could hit 20.  

Certainly Spring numbers are inflated.  But Murphy is hitting .392/.407/.725 in 51 ab's.  He's been overshadowed this Spring by teammate Josh Hamilton's incredible run.   But check out their numbers (as of 3/25):

Josh Hamilton
.460/.500/.780 50 ab 39 TB 2 HR 15 RBI 4:12 bb:k

Murphy
.392/.407/.725 51 ab 37 TB 4 HR 15 RBI 2:7 bb:k

Lasty night Murphy batted in the two hole. Maybe that is the perfect spot for him.  But Hamilton was not in the line-up as Marlon Byrd played center.  Milton Bradley was in right and Frank C was DH.  The obvious problem is how many at bats will Murphy get with this many outfielders?  And we did not even mention Jason Botts.  Kevin Mench, Jason Ellison and Nelson Cruz are headed to Oklahoma City.  But Ben Broussard has already been anointed the everyday first baseman, even against lefties.  So it's not like Ben will be platooning to share the ab's at first.  

The DH is anyone's spot.  It looks like the Rangers will ease Bradley back into action from there most of the beginning of the season.  But Cattalanotto is ruining those thoughts.

Botts, Bradley, Hamilton and Catalonatto will all make the 25 man roster.  Catalonatto has experienced back spasms the past two weeks and had a hard time getting back in the swing of things but has hits in two of his last three games.  Still he is not playing in back to back games but sometimes getting in left when he does play.  

Marlon Byrd has been mentioned in trades, and I think his value has never been as high as it is now.  He just came off his career year- a career that has saw him languish for what seems like a decade.  He has his one big year in 2003 as a youngster then steadily regressed in the NL.  Maybe the same will happen in his second Junior Circuit season?  But the drawback is the health of Josh Hamilton, who just seems to me to be one of those guys who will always be near the DL.  Maybe he won't be, but I am not yet convinced otherwise.  Plus Byrd has the glove.  And maybe that and a few at bats near the bottom of the order will make him one of the five outfielders the Rangers carry?  Who knows?  But after tonight he is hitting .177.  

That leaves Murphy, I suppose.  And Mench and Ellison who are both tearing things up but  headed to OKC anyway.  Well I just checked and both were optioned today.  Nelson Cruz has been designated for assignment as well. So I guess that leaves Murphy to battle it out with Byrd for a spot.  

But herein lies the problem.  The Rangers are a heavily left handed hitting bunch.  Murphy falls into that group.  Plus he has not handled LHP well, even last year at Pawtucket- .231/.294/.306 in 108 ab's.  And only 6 XBH during that span.  Heck he nearly equaled that in his stint with Texas last year in 22 at bats against LHP.  Same for Catalonotto, really bad against lefties.  Byrd is a righty who did reasonably well from both sides of the plate last year.  But he is sucking hind tit this year.  And I am sure the Rangers are hoping Byrd straightens things out for trade speculation purposes.  Plus Bradley is an everyday player, same as Hamilton.  Botts switch hits but is pretty good against lefties, just hits poorly against righties although his MiLB totals say differently.  He still has not done much at the MLB level although he has had a better Spring than last year, which was better than the year before.

So we could end up seeing a Ranger line-up with Botts and Catalonotto  sharing time at DH.  Murphy getting plenty of time in left- if he can handle lefties for an extended period.  Hamilton and Bradley playing everyday in center and right.  Byrd messes with this picture though.  Of course, Frank C could have another flair-up and begin the season on the DL.  That would solve everything.

I guess we will all see how this pans out.  Maybe the Rangers keep all six of those guys?