Blue Jays: Five Underrated Players To Watch During Spring Training

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 12: Richard Urena #7 of the Toronto Blue Jays warms up moments before the start of their MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on April 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 12: Richard Urena #7 of the Toronto Blue Jays warms up moments before the start of their MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on April 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – JULY 16: A detailed view of a Toronto Blue Jays baseball hat and glove sitting on the dugout steps during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 16, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 6-5. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – JULY 16: A detailed view of a Toronto Blue Jays baseball hat and glove sitting on the dugout steps during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 16, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 6-5. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

RHP Joey Murray

If you don’t know the name Joey Murray yet, he might be someone you want to get familiar with.  Murray is only the 28th ranked prospect in the Jays system, but I think that he is much better than his ranking might lead you to believe.  In 2019, as a 22 year old, Murray threw 137 ⅓ innings, posting a 2.75 ERA across three different levels, finishing at AA New Hampshire.  This is a very impressive season, not only statistically, but because he almost totalled a big league starters work load, logging nearly 140 innings.

This is a rarity in the minors, as you see guys like Nate Pearson who are coming to the big leagues and barely have100 innings under their belt, and need to have their workload managed because of it.  This won’t be a problem for Murray, who has already shown that he can handle the workload of a big league starter.

Murray won’t blow you away with his fastball as it sits in the upper 80’s, and it’s a huge reason why he is not a highly touted prospect.  Despite his lack of velocity, Murray makes up for it with deceptive arm action that makes his fastball “invisible” according to evaluators.  Because of his deceptive arm action, Murray was able to strike out 11.1 batters per nine innings in 2019 despite his lack of velo.

The Jays have a wealth of back end starters, so there’s a slim chance that Murray cracks the opening day roster.  Like Lopez, I think Murray is fully capable of having a great spring, which will boost his stock in the organization, making him a candidate for a mid-season call up.

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