Murphy looking for powerful second half

Frisco left-fielder Steve Murphy has hit well at each of his stops in the minor leagues, and 2007 has been no different. Though the 23-year-old has just six home runs, he ranks third on the team with a .296 batting average. Lone Star Dugout features the former Kansas State Wildcat.

Frisco outfielder Steve Murphy has posted outstanding numbers in each of his stops in the minor leagues to this point. A 14th round pick in the 2005 draft, Murphy won the Northwest League MVP in his professional debut, hitting .306 with 23 doubles and nine home runs in just 62 games.

Murphy was nearly as impressive with High-A Bakersfield in his first full season, as he put up a .283 batting average to go along with 38 doubles and 19 long balls.

Currently playing in his first season at the Double-A level, the 23-year-old feels he has handled the jump well.

"They say the adjustment from High-A to Double-A is the biggest jump," said Murphy. "I think I have adjusted pretty well. I had a good first half and hopefully I can stay the course and have a good second half."

While Murphy is making what he believes to be the biggest jump in minor league baseball, he has had to make a few adjustments along the way.

"I think the main adjustment is that you have to shrink your strike zone down," he said. "In High-A, there are a lot of free-swingers. With the smaller ballparks and being a hitter's league, you can get away with that a little bit more. I think you really have to shrink your strike zone down and look for your pitch."

While Murphy's batting average is up there at .296, his power has dropped off this year. The outfielder has only six home runs in 335 at-bats with the RoughRiders.

"I'm not worried," said Murphy when asked about his drop in power. "The home runs will come. I think I'm more focused on just getting hits and keeping the average up. Hopefully in the second half the home runs will come."

Part of the reason for Murphy's high average has been his success against left-handed pitching this year. The left-handed hitter batted just .215 against southpaws in 2006, but he is hitting .291 against them this year. He also currently has a higher OPS against lefties than against right-handed pitching.

"Against a lefty I'm not trying to pull the ball too much," said Murphy. "You have to try to stay to the opposite field or try to shoot it back up the middle. It's pretty much the same approach [as against right-handers]."

The Kansas State product says he is currently trying to take the ball the other way against all pitchers, not just lefties.

"I'm trying to be a little more selective and to have my approach be up the middle or the other way," explained Murphy.

With Frisco right fielder John Mayberry being promoted to Double-A in mid-June, the two began to share the same outfield for the third time in their young baseball careers. Murphy and Mayberry attended high school together in Overland Park, Kansas, and played together with the Short-Season Spokane Indians in 2005.

"It was nice playing with [Mayberry] in Spokane," he said. "To have him come up here is great. It's nice having someone that you've had a history in baseball with and it is fun."

As far as the rest of the season, Murphy would like to hit for a little more power.

"I want to try to finish out with a little bit more pop," said Murphy. "Basically I just want to stay healthy and stay the course. I've had a good year so far and I think if I can do the same thing, I'll be alright."

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