|Can Neil Walker replicate the legacy Daniel Murphy left behind in New York?|
Neil Walker was born in Pittsburgh, and has played his entire seven year career manning second base and helping the Pirates raise the Jolly Roger.
But in 2016, he will gear up for the reigning champion New York Mets, after a December trade for left hander Jon Niese sent him packing. The trade wasn't ideal for Mets fans who had just witnessed history from then free agent Daniel Murphy, who had a legendary postseason comparable with what Reggie Jackson and David Freese have done before. Murphy batted .421 and hit seven home runs in 9 games last October. Some may say if it weren't for his bat, the Mets wouldn't have advanced as far as they did.
However, the comparison between Murphy and Walker isn't as staggering as their contracts may indicate. Both players are considered below average defenders but have produced above average offensive statistics for their respective teams over their seven year careers. Murphy owns a higher career batting average (.288 to .272), while Walker's OPS of .769 out-slugs Murphy's .755. When all is said and done, they are very similar players; even wearing the same uniform number!
“When the dust settled, I couldn’t have been happier with where I landed,” Walker said. “I thought this was a very good fit for me, a very good clubhouse, and I thought I could provide value to this team.” As long as Walker can help guide New York back into the pennant race in 2016, fans should warm up to the new #20 in the clubhouse.