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On Baseball: Daniel Murphy’s Keen Eye Bolsters a Nationals Pillar

After the Mets’ halfhearted effort to retain him with a one-year qualifying offer after the 2015 World Series, Murphy signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal with Washington.

He hit .347 last season and led the N.L. in on-base-plus-slugging percentage, at .985, validating his concerted effort to launch more balls into the sky.

“What’s success?” Murphy asked Friday. “Getting a pitch in your zone and hitting it as hard as humanly possible is success. Just putting the ball in play is not necessarily success.”

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Ryan Zimmerman, right, and Daniel Murphy after Zimmerman smashed a grand slam against the Braves on Wednesday.

Credit
Jason Getz/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Zimmerman knows how to hit for power. He has a better career slugging percentage in 13 seasons as a National (.470) than Murphy had in seven seasons as a Met (.424). But Murphy, an expert in the analytics of his craft, studied data last winter that indicated why Zimmerman was not being rewarded for his hard hits.

He was hitting far too many ground balls, the numbers showed, and needed to raise his launch…

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