- Full name Donald Rex Murphy
- Born 03/10/1983 in Lakewood, CA
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Orange Coast CC
- Debut 09/18/2004
Drafted in the 5th round (138th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 2002.
View Draft ReportMurphy wouldn't be eligible for this year's draft if he had gone to Long Beach State, but he was a non-qualifier and went to OCC instead. He doesn't run well, though the rest of his tools are playable. He has good shortstop actions and swings the bat in the same style as Atlanta's Keith Lockhart. His lack of raw power may not play if he is forced to another position, especially on a corner.
Organization Prospect Rankings
A right ankle sprain sidelined Murphy in May, but he recovered and received extended big league time after Tony Graffanino was traded to the Red Sox in July. Murphy sputtered offensively in semi-regular duty before a broken right ring finger ended his season in late August. Murphy shows the discerning eye and gap power to profile as an offensive second baseman. He fields well enough with solid hands and a strong arm. The Royals believe his struggles in the majors came from dipping into survival mode rather than relaxing and playing his usual game. Murphy rotates his wrists to point his bat head toward first base before swinging, a hitch that makes him late on some fastballs and susceptible to offspeed pitches. He has limited range at second base and is a below-average runner. Murphy's arm is playable at third base and he ultimately could become a utility infielder, bowing to younger prospects Jeff Bianchi and Chris McConnell. After his disappointing big league stint, he'll open 2006 in Triple-A.
Scouts first took notice of Murphy at Orange Coast College in 2002 when they went to see teammate Matt Clanton, whom the Cubs took in the supplemental first round. Murphy has been a consistent run producer as a pro, with 201 RBIs in 322 minor league games. Murphy's offense is his strong suit. He has gap power and a solid approach at the plate. As a second baseman, he offers a strong arm and a good double-play pivot. Murphy hit .302 through June before falling into a .202 tailspin afterward. He needs to stop wiggling his hands before unloading on a pitch, because it makes his swing longer and forces him to commit sooner, leaving him vulnerable to pitchers who change speeds well. He can be a little pull-conscious. His below-average speed makes his range average at best. Murphy rates an edge over Ruben Gotay as the Royals' second baseman of the future because his athleticism makes him a better defender. He'll move up to Double-A in 2005. Murphy got a surprise September call up and should reach the majors to stay in 2006.
Murphy didn't qualify academically to play at Long Beach State in 2002, so he attended Orange Coast Junior College. He received plenty of exposure from scouts who flocked there to watch supplemental first-round pick Matt Clanton. Murphy's makeup, bat and stocky, short-legged build remind Royals officials of Marcus Giles, though he should have a better glove. Murphy has the bat to become a regular as an offense-first second baseman. He's a well-rounded hitter with a great approach and knowledge of the strike zone. He makes consistent contact and often waits longer on inside pitches before rapping them the opposite way. The ball jumps off his bat, leading scouts to project more power. Murphy's solid hands and plus arm strength allow him to make all the routine plays at second, and he isn't afraid of contact when turning the double play. Murphy is a below-average runner, so he must use his instincts and positioning to supplement his range. He must improve his footwork at second base. He should have enough bat if he has to move to third base. The Royals think Murphy is the safest bet of any of their middle-infield prospects to make the majors. He'll move up to high Class A in 2004.
Minor League Top Prospects
Managers loved few players more than Murphy. He doesn't have overwhelming tools, but he also has few weaknesses and gives 100 percent every day. His 98 RBIs trailed only Josh Barfield's 128 among minor league second baseman. "He's just a baseball player," Claus said. "He reminds me of Craig Biggio. His bat is his best tool. He has so much hitting ability, so much snap at contact, that the ball really comes off his bat. It's good, hard contact. His bat can carry him." The Biggio comparison was repeated around the MWL. Murphy doesn't have the speed Biggio had in his prime, but he's an average runner who can steal an occasional base. He also has a knack for making more plays at second base than his average range and arm would suggest.