- Full name William R.W. Murphy
- Born 05/09/1981 in Anaheim, CA
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Cal State Northridge
- Debut 09/03/2007
Drafted in the 3rd round (98th overall) by the Oakland Athletics in 2002 (signed for $410,000).
View Draft ReportThe 6-foot-1, 190-pound Murphy reminds area scouts of Pepperdine lefties Randy Wolf (Phillies '97, second round) and Noah Lowry (Giants '01, first round). He's not physical and survives as much on character as raw stuff. Few pitchers compete harder. A two-pitch pitcher prior to this season, Murphy added a changeup and improved his control, though he still dances in and out of trouble and has high pitch counts. In his first 99 innings this season, he walked 59. But he also struck out 122 and his nine-inning average of 11.1 strikeouts was one of the best ratios in the country. His fastball ranges between 88-91 mph and has touched 92 when he has been used in one-inning relief stints. Murphy projected as high as the late first round in April, but a succession of ordinary starts in May might have knocked down a round or two.
Organization Prospect Rankings
While Murphy has yet to reach the major leagues himself, he has already been involved in three trades for major leaguers. Originally drafted by Oakland, Murphy was seen as one of the top lefthanders in their system before being traded to the Marlins for Mark Redman. At the 2004 trade deadline, he was the only minor leaguer in a six-player deal between the Dodgers and Marlins, and the Dodgers sent him to Arizona a day later in the Steve Finley deal. His 88-91 mph fastball has good life and his curveball is a big breaker, but he has problems controlling them. His changeup is solid-average. Murphy's overall game took a step back in 2004, particularly his command. He needs to trust his pitches more, and spend less time trying to paint the corners. For the third straight year, Murphy ran out of gas toward the end of the year, raising more questions about his stamina. He'll begin the year in the rotation at Triple-A, where he will need to take a step forward to earn a big league call.
When the Marlins decided they couldn't afford going to arbitration with 14-game winner Mark Redman, they traded him to the Athletics for Murphy and righthander Mike Neu. While Neu has the best changeup in the system and could help Florida sooner, it's Murphy who's the prize of the deal. He went to Cal State Northridge as an outfielder/pitcher before moving to the mound full-time as a sophomore. He quickly established himself as one of Oakland's top pitching prospects, tossing a no-hitter in low Class A and reaching Double-A in 2003, his first full pro season. He generates a lot of swing-and-misses with the life on his 89-91 mph fastball and his deceptive delivery. He also throws a curveball, which can be a plus pitch at times, and a changeup. Murphy came down with a dead arm in 2002 and wore down again at the end of last season. In addition to building up his strength, he also must improve his command and pitch sequencing. If he can do that, he projects as a No. 3 starter in the majors. Murphy needs another half-season in Double-A and could be ready for the big leagues in 2005.
A high school teammate of Brewers fireballer Nick Neugebauer, Murphy went to Cal State Northridge as a two-way player before focusing on pitching as a sophomore. He has an 88-92 mph fastball that touches 94 and features electric movement, and his curveball buckles hitters' knees. He began to add a changeup last spring, though it still needs work. Murphy's arm was tired when he signed, so he wasn't at his best in the Northwest League. His command, concentration and confidence all require improvement. He nibbles around the plate rather than going right after hitters. Murphy spent instructional league shortening his stride and slowing his delivery in order to achieve better control of his pitches. The results won't be known until he starts pitching in Class A this season.