Considered a contender to crack the Blue Jays roster last season, injury troubles kept Joey Murray contained to just 0.2 innings in the Florida Complex League where he gave up a home run and two walks in the brief appearance.
A starter in the Jays organization, Murray’s calling card is his high spin rate on his fastball, which keeps opposing hitters off balance due to the way it disappears before reaching home plate. Back in 2019, Murray struck out 169 batters across three different Jays’ affiliates, finishing the year in AA and posting a combined 2.75 ERA with a 1.121 WHIP and an 11.1 K/9. It will be interesting to see if the crackdown on “sticky stuff” will heavily impact that spin rate but it appears that the Ohio product has put the injuries behind him and should be ready to go come Spring Training (whenever it happens).
Currently ranked at #25, Murray was not protected by the Blue Jays and is subjected to the Rule 5 Draft, when/if it happens after a new CBA is in place. Another team may be willing to give him a shot at the big league level in a relief capacity given that he has swing and miss material but the Blue Jays front office is probably hoping the injury concerns will persuade teams to pass. It will also be interesting to see if the club keeps him as a starter after the injury troubles last year or move him to a relief capacity.
Whatever happens given the Rule 5 Draft, if Murray can stay healthy and continue using that elite spin rate this upcoming season, he should be Major League ready in 2022.