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Fantasy baseball: Daniel Murphy, 20 HR second baseman?

Murph's power surge does not appear to be a fluke.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

A lot has been written about Daniel Murphy's late season power surge after his ridiculous postseason. I was one of many who wrote in depth about Murphy (back in January), which you can read here. It has some pictures and .gifs that illustrate the point.

I'll sum it up here: Murphy made tangible mechanical adjustments with hitting coach Kevin Long that allowed him to drive the ball more. He began using his legs more in his swing, generating more force from the ground up, and started getting his foot down earlier to be in position to turn on a ball. These were adjustments that were brewing all season long, and Murphy's power production skyrocketed in the second half of the season. Check out the difference in ISO and slugging in both his final two regular season months and final 3 total months including the postseason:

Dates

ISO

Slugging

Career before 8/1/15

.129

.417

April-July 2015

.123

.393

8/1-end of reg season

.236

.533

8/1-11/1 (end of postseason)

.273

.578

This wasn't a two week hot streak. This was a 3 month tear, and the end of it came against the best pitching in the sport. 5 of Murphy's postseason home runs came against Clayton Kershaw (twice), Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester.

A .273 ISO for a second baseman is ridiculously elite power. For reference, MLB average ISO for 2B last year was .131.

I don't know to what degree this will continue. It's probably a good bet that Murphy does not keep hitting like one of the game's premier power hitters. Plus, Murphy is with the Nationals now, and the engineer behind the adjustments was Kevin Long, who remains in New York. But I think there's a real chance Murphy is a fundamentally different hitter now, one who can maintain some degree of this new power going forward. Maybe an 18-20 HR type season, with an ISO in the .180-.190 range, is reasonable with the new adjustments. That would put Murphy in the top 5 among second basemen for power.

And if everyone else in your fantasy league thinks Murphy is still a second baseman with not a lot of pop, there might be some late round value to exploit.

Follow Tim on twitter at @TimFinn521