Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
No, not THAT Murphy. That Irish ship has sailed.
After reading an interesting article on the Top 10 catching prospects in baseball, the one name that stuck out to me was actually the person at the bottom of the list, the Colorado Rockies’ prospect, Tom Murphy. Currently listed third in the depth chart behind Nick Hundley and Tony Wolters, he may be someone that can be pried loose for the right price.
Why would the Mets want him? After all, he’s 25 years old and missed significant time in the minors due to injury (reminiscent of some other catcher whose name begins with a lower case “d”). Well, for one thing he’s turned himself from an offense-only catcher to one now rated above average by the scouts. Even his Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “We’ve seen some good things from him. Not only in catching a very good pitching performance, but thinking along with the pitcher, receiving the ball and blocking the ball. He’s an impressive kid, and physically, he certainly passes the eye test back there.”
His pitch framing numbers were favorable (actually better than starter Nick Hundley’s) and his arm is above average as well. He’s a little awkward in his footwork behind the plate but he looks to have the tools to be a major league regular.
Remember when I said an offense-first catcher? How good is he with the bat?
Well, in just 79 major league ABs he has 12 HRs and 22 RBIs over parts of two seasons. Don’t do the math to extrapolate without remembering the Coors Field factor, but consider his minor league numbers as well. In 2013 over two levels in just 357 ABs he slugged 22 HRs and drove in 83 while hitting .289. Injuries derailed part of that season and most of 2014, but as he worked his way back in 2015 the power returned. In 2016 he spent most of the year in Albuquerque (where your mileage may vary being part of the PCL), but .327/19/59 in just 303 ABs is nothing to sneeze at.
Considering he’s a bit old to still be a prospect and the Rockies still seem committed to starter Nick Hundley and defensive specialist Tony Wolters, he may be expendable. The always pitching-starved Rockies would probably not hang up the phone if you talked about helping improve their starting rotation. Would Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman net you Murphy? If so, would you do it?