The Braves finished the first half of the season winners of 11 straight series while sending a record-breaking number of players (8) to the All-Star game in Seattle, three of whom will start — Ronald Acuna Jr., Orlando Arcia, and Sean Murphy.
The Venezuelan superstar has been the best player in baseball, not named Shohei Ohtani, and Sean Murphy has been the best catcher in baseball. He might be the leading candidate in the clubhouse for the NL MVP if it weren’t for Acuna. However, that hasn’t stopped outlets like The Game Day MLB from loudly voicing their wrong opinions.
The baseball outlet put out an All-MLB 1st Team for the first half of the season, which included Will Smith over Murphy.
So, let’s get into the numbers.
Sean Murphy: 67 games, 270 plate appearances, 17 HR, 42 runs, 55 RBI, .306 AVG, .400 OBP, .599 SLG, .999 OPS, 166 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR
Will Smith: 66 games, 288 plate appearances, 13 HR, 44 runs, 46 RBI, .279 AVG, .396 OBP, .494 SLG, .890 OPS, 144 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR
The only metric the Dodgers backstop leads Murphy in is runs. Let’s take a look at the underlying metrics.
Sean Murphy/Will Smith
- 96th/51st percentile Avg Exit Velocity
- 95th/67th Max Exit Velocity
- 90th/41st percentile HardHit%
- 99th/90th percentile in xwOBA
- 96th/72nd percentile in xBA
- 99th/76th percentile in xSLG
- 98th/49th percentile in Barrel%
- 39th/92nd percentile in K%
- 75th/97th percentile in BB%
- 36th/85th percentile in Whiff%
- 80th/88th percentile in Chase Rate
- 30th/38th percentile in Sprint Speed
- 91st/88th percentile in Pop Time 2B
- 82nd/25th percentile in Framing
So, the only thing that Smith does better is induce more walks, strike out less, and run faster, yet he has a lower on-base percentage than Murphy.
There is virtually no significant metric that shows Will Smith is having a better year than Sean Murphy, so I have no idea what The Game Day MLB is thinking other than trying to get traction via outrage clicks.