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The Forgotten Jays C/1B Prospect: Jack Murphy

There was a promotion recently within the Jays system that forced me to take a closer look at one of their prospects, Jack Murphy, a catcher who began the year with the Lansing affiliate. He was just promoted to AA New Hampshire, and he Here’s what you need to know about him:

Age: 23 (just turned 23 this April)

Born: April 6th, 1988 in Saratosa Florida

Bats: Switch               Throws: Right

Height: 6’4″ 235 lbs

Drafted: by the Jays in the 31st rd of the 2009 draft, 940th overall

Stats Over 3 Seasons (GCL-AA):

  • 277 ABs / 68 Hits / 20 DB / 6 HRs / 38 RBIs / 1 SB / 35 BB / 57 SO / .245 avg / .331 obp / .383 slg / 106 TB / .995 Flg % / 29% CS rate / Rcatch = 1

Stats The Year He Got the Most Playing Time (2009):

  • 149 ABs / 40 hits / 11 DB / 3 HRs / 22 RBIs / 1 SB / 22 BB / 25 SO / .268 avg / .363 obp / .403 slg / 60 TB / .996 Flg% / 16% CS rate / Rcatch = 1,
  • *extra note: he threw out 46% of would be base stealers in 2010, showing a nice learning curve

In no shape or way am I going to say that Jack Murphy belongs amongst the top Jays catching prospects, but he does have some intrigue surrounding his play, particularly when it has been so limited. The Jays have decided to move him up to AA in order to back up Travis d’Arnaud and also play some 1B and DH, not to get the majority of the playing time at any one position. But, since d’Arnaud is dealing with back issues, he may get more playing time than was previously expected.

He’s a big guy for a catcher at 6’4″ 235 lbs, so chances are he wouldn’t stick there anyhow. The thing about Jack is this: he hits well enough to have garnerned an XBH in 9.3% of his limited and sporadic ABs, he fields the C position very well even if he doesn’t have a rocket of an arm, and he proved in 2009 that if he is given the chance to get a decent number of ABs he can do some real damage. It’s no wonder than, that the Jays have decided to give him more time at 1B this year and he could very well surprise many people with his hitting ability if he gets enough ABs to get comfortable and has early success in AA.

Adam Lind has a stronghold on 1B in Toronto at this point, Michael McDade is going nowhere but up at this point from AA, and David Cooper has done extremely well in AAA, so the road to a starting role in MLB isn’t any easier at 1B for Murphy. But, if he proves versatile and hits enough to be considered a good C/1B/DH bench option, he could get a shot earlier than some other more prominent prospects. Why? Well, if you’re the Jays or most MLB clubs, you don’t call up top prospects before they’re ready to play full-time or at least the majority of the time. For example, the Jays wouldn’t call Travis d’Arnaud up to just have him sit on the bench 3-4 games out of 5. Murphy, on the other hand, could be. Most likely not with the Jays, but with another club….? Perhaps.

Through his first 14 PAs in AA, Jack already has 4 walks, showing his patience and maturity at the plate. Along with his 2 hits, it gives him a promising .429 OBP to begin his time there. It’s an extremely short sample size, but the patience at the plate is shows lots of promise.

 Matt Liuzza used to hold the role that Murphy will fill in AA. There’s no telling of how Murphy will adjust to AA pitching and whether he’ll hit or get enough playing time there to make it any higher. But, if he does hit well enough in AA and develops more power, he could be a very viable backup option for an MLB team at some point in the future.

Just more prospect food for thought for JJ fans and another Jays minor league player to keep an eye on in New Hampshire.

- MG

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