Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

Toronto Blue Jays: Interview with prospect Joey Murray

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: A MLB baseball rests on the mound prior the spring training game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: A MLB baseball rests on the mound prior the spring training game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals at Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Jays Journal sits down with Toronto Blue Jays prospect Joey Murray and talks all things baseball with this up and coming talent.

Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege to interview Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Hector Perez. Perez was from the Dominican Republic who was signed as an international free agent and made his way to the big leagues.

This time around, I was able to interview Joey Murray for the most in-depth interview I’ve had yet. Murray is the 29th ranked prospect for the Blue Jays according to MLB Pipeline.

Murray was drafted in the 8th round in the 2016 draft out of Kent State by the Blue Jays. He was absolutely dominant in three years in college going 17-4 with a 2.45 E.R.A. as well as 308 strikeouts over 134 hits given up in 209.2 innings pitched.

Since playing professionally, he hasn’t missed a beat. Reaching as high as AA in just two years spent in the minors, he’s gone 11-8 with a 2.60 E.R.A. in 40 games (31 starts) with 208 strikeouts over 124 hits given up in 163 innings for an opponent average of .209.

Murray was also invited to summer training camp at the Rogers Centre and was part of the 60 man player pool during the 2020 season.

The interview

Reuben: What was baseball like growing up for you?

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Joey: I didn’t become good at baseball until halfway through high school. I always enjoyed it but I was never the best player on any team I played on until late in high school. I’d say I was a slightly above average pitcher nothing crazy though. My sophomore year of high school was when I had some solid guidance when it came to pitching as well as a great influence when it came to getting in the weight room. From there I was able to build on it and become better and better each year

Reuben: What’s the difference between playing college ball and minor league ball?

Joey: College ball is different in a lot of ways. The structure of practice is more team development and pro ball is geared more around personal development and focusing on what each individual player needs to get better at. Obviously, the competition is way different when it comes to the transition into pro ball no matter where you played in college.

In pro ball you have much more consistent approaches from hitters, hitters, and pitchers knowing where their pitches play best in and out of the strike zone. So the biggest change is the mental side of it. Your pitches will likely get better in pro ball but the biggest jumps will be in your mental performance and consistency.

Reuben: When was the moment that you realized that you could get drafted? What was your reaction when you did?

Joey: My sophomore season we were playing a series at wake forest’s stadium and I was throwing a bullpen on Thursday setting up for a Sunday start and after my bullpen, I asked my pitching coach, who has coached multiple 1st rounders and big leaguers, what else I had to do to get drafted the next year. He said something along the lines of “nothing, but if you only try to be ‘good enough’ then you won’t make it far”.

After that a switch flipped inside of me because I started to realize that it was up to me to determine how far I would go in this game and that just having the opportunity to say I played professional baseball wasn’t enough for me. I made plenty of mistakes along the way but that mindset has really helped me along the way.

Reuben: You were invited to training camp at the Rogers Centre this season. Were you expecting to be invited? What was the experience like?

Joey: I knew that I had a chance to be invited but I felt like I was on the outside looking in. The whole experience in Toronto was amazing. I didn’t go to big league spring training this year so it was my first time in that type of environment. It was my first time ever seeing the stadium so that was also really cool. Moving forward I think it’ll also benefit me to have that experience.

Reuben: What was the non-roster camp like? What kind of things were done to stay ready and in-game shape?

Joey: Our schedule was based around a typical in-season schedule. So we’d show up, lift, prep for throwing, then get our throwing in for the day depending on the rotation, take some ground balls, batting practice, and then get ready for the game. Depending on the day we could play anywhere from 4 innings to 9 innings. The coaching staff did a great job keeping our schedule like a typical season

Reuben: Do you ever pay attention to like prospect rankings or what like scouts say about you?

Joey: Nope. The blue jays determine who gets called up, not prospect rankings. You see guys all the time who weren’t a “prospect” and turn out great and vice versa. They may see a guy play once, write him off, but he’s actually a great player and just saw him on a bad day.

Reuben: What are you going to do during the offseason to stay ready and what are your goals for the 2021 season?

Joey: The big thing is to get my strength back. During the shutdown I lost all the strength I built up over the offseason and while in Rochester I was still able to hit 95mph so I look forward to seeing what I can do once I’m at full strength as well as using what I learned this year. My goal is just to try to keep getting closer to being the pitcher I know I’m capable of being.

Chatting with Blue Jays pitcher Hector Perez. dark. Next

I want to thank Joey for allowing me the opportunity to interview him. I as well as the rest of the Jays Journal team wish Joey the best of luck in his career and we hope to see him in the big leagues which won’t be long if he keeps up with how he has done in the minors.