Q&A with 2nd Round Pick J.R. Murphy

We sat down with Yankees' 2nd round pick, J.R. Murphy, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the catcher from The Pendleton School in Florida says is his best tool, how he feels being drafted by the Yankees, what he'll bring to the Yankees organization, and more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what it feels like to be selected by the New York Yankees?

J.R. Murphy: It's really an honor, that's probably the best way to put it. It's because of all the history and all the great players that have played for them. I mean, I've said this to everyone who has asked, and if I had to sum up the organization up in one word it would be class. Everyone I met has been well respected and treated me with a tremendous amount of respect. They've treated my like I'm already in the big leagues. From the top down, everyone has been great.

PinstripesPlus.com: Talk about your game a little bit. What type of player are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Yankees?

Murphy: I wasn't really a well known player, but I take that to heart because I want to prove myself. I am not a big guy, but I like to think of myself as a quiet leader, as someone who leads by example. I am still learning how to call games and I'm still new to catching, but I pride myself in learning how to work with my pitchers and building relationships with them, but I am looking forward to getting a lot better.

PinstripesPlus.com: On MLB.com you were listed as a catcher, but you are listed as an outfielder in other places. What is your primary position, and have the Yankees talked to you at all about what position they see you at in the future?

Murphy: I'm pretty sure I'll be catching, but if that does not work we will work out something else. I'm pretty sure they have interest me as a catcher, and think I can learn quickly. I'm athletic enough to move anywhere and can make adjustments, but we will see how catching works out first.

PinstripesPlus.com: Several scouts have referred to you as a five-tool player, but your hitting always gets highlighted. What do you feel is your best tool, and what do you think is the most important thing you bring to the game?

Murphy: I definitely feel that my greatest tool is my hitting. I think I will have some power in the future, but not a lot. I am a gap-to-gap guy; I like to hit the ball the other way a lot. I also bring makeup to the game, a lot of scouts comment on that. I pride myself in knowing the game and I think I know the game well. Obviously I will get better, but my makeup brings a lot to a team.

PinstripesPlus.com: Some scouts have also raved about your strike zone judgment, and you only struck out four times last season. Have you always been naturally selective at the plate and blessed with a good eye, or did you develop that skill over time?

Murphy: I really think that's come about in the last year or so, facing the better pitching in summer ball or Florida state ball. I noticed that last summer, and I think it does come naturally to me. That's all I can really say.

PinstripesPlus.com: How about your defensive game? You must have a strong arm if you play behind the plate and in the outfield.

Murphy: I think that I have a pretty strong arm, but that goes back to the athleticism and the switching of positions. My coach, Ken Bolek, who is the Academy Director here at IMG, was the one who actually thought that converting to catcher would be a benefit to me in the long run. Obviously I have to get better, but I think I have the skills and am willing to get better. I'm very coachable and take criticism well, so I think things will work out with the Yankees organization.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level so the Yankees' fans have an idea of what your game is like?

Murphy: I've heard some comparisons to Russell Martin, but personally, I think I'm more like Pudge. Just because he's not a big guy, he's intense and he leads by example. I think our hitting will be similar. If I'm going to hit like any player in the big leagues, I think it would be like Pudge, just because he takes the ball the opposite way a lot and has some speed. It's who I envy too.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Yankees or were you surprised when they selected you?

Murphy: There was some discussion that some and a couple of other teams were really interested, but I did not get any phone calls from them before they drafted me. It was kind of nice hearing it and not knowing my name was going to be called, but there were some indications that they were interested.

PinstripesPlus.com: You underwent a knee surgery prior to your senior year season, what was that like? Do you think the rehab made you stronger?

Murphy: I missed my junior year spring season because I had my surgery in December of 2007. I think the rehab made me stronger mentally, and it helped me learn the things outside the game that you don't experience by playing. Sitting on the outside of games helped me learn about pitch calling and other stuff. I got to learn more about pitch calling, but I pride myself in how I came back from the injury.

PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?

Murphy: Whenever anybody asks me that question, my answer usually involves how I came back from that injury. I think it was a pretty big setback, and right before my junior year which is a big year for high school baseball players, but coming back and putting up the numbers that I did makes me consider that my greatest achievement.

PinstripesPlus.com: What was your favorite team and who was your favorite player while growing up?

Murphy: I've been a Red Sox fan since I was eight years old when I met Nomar Garciaparra, who used to train at IMG. My whole mothers' side of the family are Yankee fans, and they are ecstatic. Still, I could not be happier with being drafted by the New York Yankees, it has nothing to do with my decision, I honestly could not be happier.

PinstripesPlus.com: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Yankees? You have already committed to the University of Miami, but will being drafted affect your decision? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?

Murphy: I really am thrilled about the possibility of becoming a Yankee. Whether it's sooner or later, I won't make that decision until a deal starts to get worked out. From what I've been told, they are waiting until the entire draft is over before negotiating that. Right now, I am just happy with the possibility of becoming a Yankee, but we'll see how it plays out in the next couple of weeks.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what it feels like to be selected by the New York Yankees?
\r\n
\r\nJ.R. Murphy: It's really an honor, that's probably the best way to put it. It's because of all the history and all the great players that have played for them. I mean, I've said this to everyone who has asked, and if I had to sum up the organization up in one word it would be class. Everyone I met has been well respected and treated me with a tremendous amount of respect. They've treated my like I'm already in the big leagues. From the top down, everyone has been great.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Talk about your game a little bit. What type of player are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Yankees?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I wasn't really a well known player, but I take that to heart because I want to prove myself. I am not a big guy, but I like to think of myself as a quiet leader, as someone who leads by example. I am still learning how to call games and I'm still new to catching, but I pride myself in learning how to work with my pitchers and building relationships with them, but I am looking forward to getting a lot better.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: On MLB.com you were listed as a catcher, but you are listed as an outfielder in other places. What is your primary position, and have the Yankees talked to you at all about what position they see you at in the future?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I'm pretty sure I'll be catching, but if that does not work we will work out something else. I'm pretty sure they have interest me as a catcher, and think I can learn quickly. I'm athletic enough to move anywhere and can make adjustments, but we will see how catching works out first.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Several scouts have referred to you as a five-tool player, but your hitting always gets highlighted. What do you feel is your best tool, and what do you think is the most important thing you bring to the game?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I definitely feel that my greatest tool is my hitting. I think I will have some power in the future, but not a lot. I am a gap-to-gap guy; I like to hit the ball the other way a lot. I also bring makeup to the game, a lot of scouts comment on that. I pride myself in knowing the game and I think I know the game well. Obviously I will get better, but my makeup brings a lot to a team.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Some scouts have also raved about your strike zone judgment, and you only struck out four times last season. Have you always been naturally selective at the plate and blessed with a good eye, or did you develop that skill over time?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I really think that's come about in the last year or so, facing the better pitching in summer ball or Florida state ball. I noticed that last summer, and I think it does come naturally to me. That's all I can really say.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: How about your defensive game? You must have a strong arm if you play behind the plate and in the outfield.
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I think that I have a pretty strong arm, but that goes back to the athleticism and the switching of positions. My coach, Ken Bolek, who is the Academy Director here at IMG, was the one who actually thought that converting to catcher would be a benefit to me in the long run. Obviously I have to get better, but I think I have the skills and am willing to get better. I'm very coachable and take criticism well, so I think things will work out with the Yankees organization.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your game to at the Major League level so the Yankees' fans have an idea of what your game is like?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I've heard some comparisons to Russell Martin, but personally, I think I'm more like Pudge. Just because he's not a big guy, he's intense and he leads by example. I think our hitting will be similar. If I'm going to hit like any player in the big leagues, I think it would be like Pudge, just because he takes the ball the opposite way a lot and has some speed. It's who I envy too.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: Were you expecting to be drafted by the Yankees or were you surprised when they selected you?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: There was some discussion that some and a couple of other teams were really interested, but I did not get any phone calls from them before they drafted me. It was kind of nice hearing it and not knowing my name was going to be called, but there were some indications that they were interested.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: You underwent a knee surgery prior to your senior year season, what was that like? Do you think the rehab made you stronger?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I missed my junior year spring season because I had my surgery in December of 2007. I think the rehab made me stronger mentally, and it helped me learn the things outside the game that you don't experience by playing. Sitting on the outside of games helped me learn about pitch calling and other stuff. I got to learn more about pitch calling, but I pride myself in how I came back from the injury.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: Whenever anybody asks me that question, my answer usually involves how I came back from that injury. I think it was a pretty big setback, and right before my junior year which is a big year for high school baseball players, but coming back and putting up the numbers that I did makes me consider that my greatest achievement.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What was your favorite team and who was your favorite player while growing up?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I've been a Red Sox fan since I was eight years old when I met Nomar Garciaparra, who used to train at IMG. My whole mothers' side of the family are Yankee fans, and they are ecstatic. Still, I could not be happier with being drafted by the New York Yankees, it has nothing to do with my decision, I honestly could not be happier.
\r\n
\r\nPinstripesPlus.com: What are your immediate plans now that you have been drafted by the Yankees? You have already committed to the University of Miami, but will being drafted affect your decision? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?
\r\n
\r\nMurphy: I really am thrilled about the possibility of becoming a Yankee. Whether it's sooner or later, I won't make that decision until a deal starts to get worked out. From what I've been told, they are waiting until the entire draft is over before negotiating that. Right now, I am just happy with the possibility of becoming a Yankee, but we'll see how it plays out in the next couple of weeks.
\r\n
\r\n

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

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

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