Difference Maker: David Murphy
Skeptics – and there are many – will claim Murphy’s startling success against lefties last year was merely an anomaly, and not indicative that he has now figured out southpaws on a permanent basis. Feel free to say nay if you must, but it’s really just as likely – if not more so – that Murphy has simply continued to develop with each passing season of big league experience. He could be entering his prime, which may not have anywhere near the ceiling of Hamilton’s (mainly from a power perspective), but also certainly won’t approach the depths of said former Ranger’s deep, deep basement.
Murphy doesn’t possess Hamilton’s cannon of an arm, nor will his bat ever hit balls as far, but Murphy is actually dissimilar to Hamilton in all the right ways. Murphy doesn’t have any baggage, while Hamilton’s could fill an entire fleet of 747s. Murphy will never miss an inning due to Red Bull-induced optical hypochondria, whereas that’s been known to sideline Hamilton during extended stretches of his team’s crucial late-season playoff chase. And Murphy certainly deserves bonus points for simply not being married to Katie Hamilton.
The difference David Murphy will make on the 2013 Texas Rangers is being a smart, consistent hitter who won’t give away at-bats, while constantly hustling in the field and on the basepaths, and providing a steadying, respectable influence in the clubhouse. David Murphy is not Josh Hamilton, and thank sweet Baseball Jesus that he isn’t! The Rangers just might be a better team because of it.