/The Scout Who Loved Daniel Murphy’s Swing Before Anyone Else

The Scout Who Loved Daniel Murphy’s Swing Before Anyone Else


Steve Barningham was a Mets scout for less than a year when he persuaded the team to draft Daniel Murphy in 2006.

Melissa Lyttle for The New York Times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the Mets’ war room during the 2006 draft, among the team’s officials in attendance was a relatively young area scout named Steve Barningham, whom the organization had hired about seven months earlier to search for talent in North Florida.

As the draft wore on, and scouts around the room made cases to draft players they had spent months following and evaluating, Barningham kept nagging the Mets to draft Daniel Murphy, a sweet-swinging hitter from Jacksonville University.

Barningham knew it was a tough sell. Scouting directors tend to prefer players who fit cookie-cutter profiles — players with big power or a stellar glove or blazing speed — whose future is easy to project. And Murphy was a fair defender, a fringe runner who did not hit for power. But as Barningham kept…

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