Colton Murray figures to get a look this spring as a potential piece for the Phillies bullpen. Of course, there are a number of guys looking to fill those spots in what is shaping up to be a very different group providing the Phillies with relief this season.
The truth is that Murray has never been a highly touted prospect. He's one of those guys who has always gone pretty much unheralded, although he's put up decent numbers throughout his minor league career, including a combined 8-3-3 record with a 2.67 ERA between Reading and Lehigh Valley last summer. Overall, he's posted a 3.30 ERA in five minor league seasons, but struggled in eight relief appearances with the Phillies last September and October, finishing with a 5.87 ERA and on 0-1 record in the majors.
Murray describes himself as "an angry pitcher." He doesn't like hitters very much and looks to get them out quickly and efficiently. Major league hitters hit him to a tune of .317 last season, but even in his 7 2/3 innings of work, he struck out nine hitters. His love for going right at hitters got him into some trouble in the majors, simply because he needs to learn to mix-up his stuff a little better and needs to continue to work on location with some of his pitches.
The maturity process has already started with Murray, who admits that early in his career, he was all about simply throwing the ball as hard as he could and blowing it by hitters. He's smart enough to know that as he worked his way closer to the majors, he was going to need more than that to get hitters out. At just 6' tall, and 195 pounds, Murray has never had the size to muster a ton of velocity. His fastball is generally in the low-90s and pumps up to around 95 on occasion. He does get a decent amount of downward movement on the pitch, because even though he's not very tall, he does have an over the top delivery.
The curveball is where Murray sometimes gets himself into trouble, mainly because of the location. He hasn't quite grasped how to put the ball just out of the strike zone and sometimes leaves it sitting in a hittable area over the plate. His delivery allows him to get downward movement, so the potential is there, but he just has to lock in his location to keep it from getting too much of the strike zone.
After the fastball and curve, Murray does have a changeup, but it's not what you would call an impressive pitch. He generally just shows it to hitters to let them know it's there, but it's simply not good enough to overuse.
Nobody is expecting Murray to be a back of the bullpen type guy. Instead, he profiles as a middle innings type of reliever, but if he can continue to strike guys out and nail down his location, he can be a pretty good asset to a bullpen. With the wide open competition this spring, Murray figures to get a decent look for a potential spot on the Phillies opening day roster.
Colton Murray's career stats
|Minors (5 seasons)||18||23||3.30||212||30||310.2||264||136||114||121||314||1.239||0.6||2.60|