DANIEL MURPHY’S GREAT HITTING CONTINUES. In October of 2015, just before the World Series began, I posted here about how Daniel Murphy’s performance in the Series would be a test of whether a baseball or basketball player can have a “hot hand” over a long period of time. I said: “Daniel Murphy, a second baseman for the Mets who has been a decent but not a great hitter, has been on a hot streak that is hard to explain. Murphy has never hit more than 14 home runs in a season. He has now hit 7 home runs in his last 9 games, including a home run in each of his last 6 games.” The obvious explanation was that Murphy’s streak was an unusual random event and the thought that he might continue it would be an example of the “hot hand fallacy”—“the fallacious belief that a person who has experienced success with a random event has a greater chance of further success in additional attempts”.
The alternative explanation was that Murphy, had made a sudden and unusual improvement.
I followed Murphy in several posts since then. In May of 2016, after the first month of the season, Murphy was doing well. I posted on an article by Andrew Beaton that said that: “Murphyâ€™s hot streak in last yearâ€™s playoffs â€œwas about as expected as a kangaroo riding the subway’.” Beaton then said that â€œthe only thing less predictable than his October rampage was that it would continue into May….” Beaton then offered two changes ithat Murphy had made in his batting swing that might explain Murphy’s improvement.
Here is an article by Joel Sherman in the New York Post (August 30) which says: “When Daniel Murphy carried over his strong postseason with the 2015 Mets to the 2016 Nationals, there were questions of whether it was sustainable.
We have an answer now: Yes.”
Murphy currently ranks 5th in the majors in OPS.