Scouting Yankees Prospect #16: J.R. Murphy

The New York Yankees selected catcher J.R. Murphy out of The Pendleton School in Florida in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft. Signed for $1.25 million because of his batting potential, he had a solid first full season last year while getting his first extended time behind the plate.

Vital Statistics:
Name: J.R. Murphy
Position: Catcher
DOB: May 13, 1991
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"I thought it went well," Murphy said of what was essentially his debut season. "I learned a lot about myself, a lot of things a first year player is going to go through. I think I had a good year. I got better in a lot of areas and I definitely got my feet wet."

He began the season in Extended Spring Training but got promoted in mid-May and wound up hitting .255 with seven home runs for the Charleston RiverDogs.

"I kind of went in with no expectations because it was my first full-year," he said. "It's one thing to hear about how tough a full season is, it's another thing to do it.

"It's definitely a grind going everyday. Season-wise though, I would like to hit more than .250, obviously. You can't give away at-bats and all of those little things."

What Murphy had not counted on and what escapes most critics, however, is just how tough it is to learn all of the nuances of catching and try to be consistent in the batter's box at the same time.

"He came along ways behind the plate," Charleston manager Greg Colbrunn [a former big league catcher] said. "Going into the season, in his career, he probably caught 20-30 games, ever. Everything he did was kind of the first time. He didn't grow up catching.

"His arm strength is there now and he started taking more advantage of it. He was also getting better exchanges, getting better at calling games, the whole aspect of catching he got better at, including how to hit everyday.

"Over the last couple of months he wound up catching more than [the Yankees] had planned on him catching in his first year, but it was good for his development. When you're catching everyday you've got to learn how to hit when you're tired all of the time."

Murphy did learn how to catch and hit as the season progressed. Not only did his blocking, game calling, and throwing get better defensively, but he wound up hitting six of his seven home runs after the All Star break and drew more than twice as many walks.

"That was probably feeling more comfortable and not as much pressure as when I first went up," Murphy opined. "When I first went up I wanted to do really well and I was pressing. Just playing and over time I started to fit in there and started believing in myself.

"I didn't feel overmatched. I never got to the point where I said ‘this guy overmatched me', so I felt comfortable. As the season went on I just felt more and more comfortable."

Now knowing what all is entailed with enduring the rigors of long season and how to balance both catching and hitting, Murphy feels like his 2010 season was just the first stepping stone in becoming a complete player.

"This was a very good year I think," he said. "I think it's a good first step and a good first year for hopefully many more years to come behind it.

"I'm happy with my year and I'm satisfied with it. I think I got a lot better. I enjoyed this year and I got out of it what I wanted."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2010

Charleston

.255

330

15

7

54

46

4

36

64

.327

.376

2009

GCL Yankees

.333

33

2

1

7

4

0

3

8

.405

.485



Batting and Power. Murphy's rather pedestrian numbers last year disguise what is a very advanced offensive approach at the plate. He is a very patient hitter who shows good pitch recognition and selectivity. He employs a very short, compact stroke, he has very good bat speed, he takes what the pitcher gives him, and he is extremely calm in the batter's box, all good signs of being a high-average hitter in due time. Not a physically imposing figure, he has very good power to all fields because he uses his legs better than most young players. He has above average power potential for a catcher and he is very adept at driving runners in from scoring position.

Base Running and Speed. Like his power, he is probably an average runner overall, maybe a tick slower, but that does make him a bit of a threat at the catcher's position. He gets by on intelligence and athleticism, and has dougle-digit stolen base potential as a result.

Defense. With just one full season under his belt, Murphy is still relatively new to the catcher's position. He has gotten better in nearly every aspect, however; blocking, game calling, receiving, and throwing. He still has room to grow in all phases though and projects to be an average defensive player down the road. His above average arm strength is his best attribute defensively and he does show some nimbleness, two reasons why he may get some reps both at third base and in the outfield down the road should the need arise because of the Yankee catching depth. His makeup and leadership skills though are what separates him from most.

Projection. Murphy has all of the tools to be a big league starting catcher someday; great makeup, advanced offensive approach, surprising and developing power, a solid athletic foundation, and a strong arm. He is so new to catching, however, that he will need to refine most of the areas of his defensive game. Both a third baseman and outfielder in high school, he does offer enough versatility to be a big league bench player, but his hitting potential and overall makeup are too good to not project as more. He resembles a young Buster Posey in so many ways.

ETA. 2014. Murphy is ready for the Florida State League in 2011 and should open up as part of the Tampa catching tandem.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: J.R. Murphy
\r\nPosition: Catcher
\r\nDOB: May 13, 1991
\r\nHeight: 5'11\"
\r\nWeight: 180
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought it went well,\" Murphy said of what was essentially his debut season. \"I learned a lot about myself, a lot of things a first year player is going to go through. I think I had a good year. I got better in a lot of areas and I definitely got my feet wet.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe began the season in Extended Spring Training but got promoted in mid-May and wound up hitting .255 with seven home runs for the Charleston RiverDogs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I kind of went in with no expectations because it was my first full-year,\" he said. \"It's one thing to hear about how tough a full season is, it's another thing to do it.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's definitely a grind going everyday. Season-wise though, I would like to hit more than .250, obviously. You can't give away at-bats and all of those little things.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhat Murphy had not counted on and what escapes most critics, however, is just how tough it is to learn all of the nuances of catching and try to be consistent in the batter's box at the same time.
\r\n
\r\n\"He came along ways behind the plate,\" Charleston manager Greg Colbrunn [a former big league catcher] said. \"Going into the season, in his career, he probably caught 20-30 games, ever. Everything he did was kind of the first time. He didn't grow up catching.
\r\n
\r\n\"His arm strength is there now and he started taking more advantage of it. He was also getting better exchanges, getting better at calling games, the whole aspect of catching he got better at, including how to hit everyday.
\r\n
\r\n\"Over the last couple of months he wound up catching more than [the Yankees] had planned on him catching in his first year, but it was good for his development. When you're catching everyday you've got to learn how to hit when you're tired all of the time.\"
\r\n
\r\nMurphy did learn how to catch and hit as the season progressed. Not only did his blocking, game calling, and throwing get better defensively, but he wound up hitting six of his seven home runs after the All Star break and drew more than twice as many walks.
\r\n
\r\n\"That was probably feeling more comfortable and not as much pressure as when I first went up,\" Murphy opined. \"When I first went up I wanted to do really well and I was pressing. Just playing and over time I started to fit in there and started believing in myself.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't feel overmatched. I never got to the point where I said ‘this guy overmatched me', so I felt comfortable. As the season went on I just felt more and more comfortable.\"
\r\n
\r\nNow knowing what all is entailed with enduring the rigors of long season and how to balance both catching and hitting, Murphy feels like his 2010 season was just the first stepping stone in becoming a complete player.
\r\n
\r\n\"This was a very good year I think,\" he said. \"I think it's a good first step and a good first year for hopefully many more years to come behind it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm happy with my year and I'm satisfied with it. I think I got a lot better. I enjoyed this year and I got out of it what I wanted.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n 2B

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

\r\n R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n .255

\r\n

\r\n 330

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 54

\r\n

\r\n 46

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 36

\r\n

\r\n 64

\r\n

\r\n .327

\r\n

\r\n .376

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n .333

\r\n

\r\n 33

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n .405

\r\n

\r\n .485


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Murphy's rather pedestrian numbers last year disguise what is a very advanced offensive approach at the plate. He is a very patient hitter who shows good pitch recognition and selectivity. He employs a very short, compact stroke, he has very good bat speed, he takes what the pitcher gives him, and he is extremely calm in the batter's box, all good signs of being a high-average hitter in due time. Not a physically imposing figure, he has very good power to all fields because he uses his legs better than most young players. He has above average power potential for a catcher and he is very adept at driving runners in from scoring position.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Like his power, he is probably an average runner overall, maybe a tick slower, but that does make him a bit of a threat at the catcher's position. He gets by on intelligence and athleticism, and has dougle-digit stolen base potential as a result.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. With just one full season under his belt, Murphy is still relatively new to the catcher's position. He has gotten better in nearly every aspect, however; blocking, game calling, receiving, and throwing. He still has room to grow in all phases though and projects to be an average defensive player down the road. His above average arm strength is his best attribute defensively and he does show some nimbleness, two reasons why he may get some reps both at third base and in the outfield down the road should the need arise because of the Yankee catching depth. His makeup and leadership skills though are what separates him from most.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Murphy has all of the tools to be a big league starting catcher someday; great makeup, advanced offensive approach, surprising and developing power, a solid athletic foundation, and a strong arm. He is so new to catching, however, that he will need to refine most of the areas of his defensive game. Both a third baseman and outfielder in high school, he does offer enough versatility to be a big league bench player, but his hitting potential and overall makeup are too good to not project as more. He resembles a young Buster Posey in so many ways.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2014. Murphy is ready for the Florida State League in 2011 and should open up as part of the Tampa catching tandem.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

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