- Full name Matthew Henry Murton
- Born 10/03/1981 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Georgia Tech
- Debut 07/08/2005
Drafted in the C-1 round (32nd overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2003 (signed for $1,010,000).
View Draft ReportMurton was hitting just .307 this spring with aluminum after batting a combined .345 with wood the last two summers in the Cape Cod League, where he also won the 2002 home run derby. He has fallen into bad habits, concentrating on pulling pitches and lengthening his swing. He hits better with wood because it forces him to focus more, using a shorter stroke and letting his considerable power come naturally. His best tool is his bat, though he does everything well except for throwing. He'll be limited to left field as a pro but will be able to carry the offensive load at that position. Murton would mesh nicely with the offensive approach of the Athletics, who pick twice near the end of the first round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Not only did general manager Jim Hendry pull off a four-team deal trade at the deadline last July that netted Nomar Garciaparra and Alex Gonzalez, but he also picked up Murton as well. Murton has the best pure hitting skills and strike-zone judgment in the system. The Expos weren't interested in getting Murton from the Red Sox in the trade, so Hendry offered to give up Harris and take Murton at the last moment. He always hit well with wood bats in the Cape Cod League as an amateur, and Murton has had little trouble adapting to pro ball. Scouts don't project him to have quite as much power as they did when he was at Georgia Tech, but he should be at least a 20-homer guy. He needs to add loft to his swing to become more of longball threat. He can put on a show in batting practice, having won home run derbies at the Connie Mack World Series (1998), Cape Cod League all-star game (2002) and Florida State League all-star game (2004). Murton is a good athlete for his size and has average speed. His biggest drawback is a weak arm that limits him to left field. He'll head to Double-A this year and could be ready for Wrigley Field at some point in 2006.
Murton and fellow 2003 first-rounder David Murphy teamed to win back-to-back Cape Cod League championships in 2001-02. Chris Durbin, Boston's 10th-round pick in 2003, completed the 2002 Wareham outfield. Initially projected as a first-rounder, Murton lasted 32 picks in June because he slumped as a junior. He got pull conscious and lengthened his swing last spring, but he hits better with wood bats because he shortens his stroke and lets his power come naturally. The Cape's 2002 home run derby winner, he has more pop than any hitter in the system. Boston makes all of its players in Class A or below keep notebooks on hitting, something Murton already did on his own. He runs well for his size and is a four-tool player. His weak arm relegates him to left field. His swing has more effort than Murphy's does. If he gets much bigger or stronger, his speed and range likely will dip below average. Murton will reunite with Murphy again in 2004, this time in high Class A. If all goes as expected, they'll play together again, this time in Boston, by mid-2006.
Minor League Top Prospects
It looks increasingly likely that Murton and not Nomar Garciaparra will be the true catch for the Cubs from their 2004 four-team trade deadline deal. Murton tore up the SL and had 15 hits in his first 34 at-bats after his July callup to Chicago. A solid hitter with very few holes in his swing, Murton is a tough out at the plate with 20-homer potential once he taps into his solid-average raw power. He knows his strike zone very well and does a great job of consistently putting the ball in play with authority to all fields. Murton is also a solid defender with sneaky speed and a blue-collar mindset. He's a safe bet to become an everyday left fielder with a chance to hit in the middle of a major league lineup. His arm is his lone below-average tool. "He's one of those guys you can put in the third spot as he matures and grows older," Tennessee manager Tony Perezchica said. "He's an average to above-average outfielder, a great prospect. If he could have stayed here all year, he would have been a possible MVP candidate."
Murton and Murphy helped Wareham win consecutive Cape Cod League championships in 2001-02 before becoming Red Sox first-rounders in June. Murton, a supplemental choice at No. 32, rebounded after a disappointing junior season at Georgia Tech. Murton has a strong body and enough power that he'll hit homers by accident. He has an aggressive approach with a short stroke and plenty of bat speed generated by strength. He moves well enough but has a below-average arm and profiles as a left fielder. "He's a good-looking kid," Howard said. "He looks like a typical Red Sox outfielder. I like the way he handles himself, and he looks like he's going to hit with some power at the plate."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Chicago Cubs in 2005
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Chicago Cubs in 2005
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Boston Red Sox in 2004