"[Murphy] ranks pretty up there with the players I've had -- Jeff Kent, Moises Alou, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds," Baker said. "I'm not name dropping, I'm just telling you who've I've seen. The guys I've just mentioned, they were more home run hitters than Murph. And Murph is learning how to hit the ball out of the ballpark. So sky's the limit. Who knows what he may become. I know what he already is."
Murphy doesn't like to talk about himself. While he was humbled by the praise from Baker, all Murphy was thinking about was the Nationals being 17 games over .500 and looking to win the four-game series over the Mets on Sunday.
"Right now, we put ourselves in a position to win the series. The Mets are a really good division opponent," Murphy said. "We'll come out with Gio [Gonzalez] on the mound [Sunday] and hopefully we can win a series."
Murphy has really haunted the Mets, the team he played with for his first seven years in the Majors. On Saturday, Murphy went 3-for-4, knocked in four runs and was a triple shy of the cycle. Let's not forget the numbers he has put up in the first half of the season. He leads the Major Leagues in hitting with a .349 batting average and he leads the Nationals in many offensive categories, including doubles and RBIs.
The strong first half earned Murphy his second career All-Star selection. He'll be playing in the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on Tuesday in San Diego, with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
Against the Mets, Murphy has been unstoppable. Murphy has six homers and 19 RBIs in 12 games against New York this season. The 19 RBIs are the third most among National League players vs. a single opponent in 2016. Murphy had an RBI single in the third inning, an RBI double in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh.
"He has had one of the great first halves of all time," teammate Ryan Zimmerman said. "The second half of last year and obviously the playoffs, he turned the corner as far as the power numbers. He has always been able to hit. He prepares himself every day, works hard. It's been fun to watch."
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.