- Full name John Ryan Murphy
- Born 05/13/1991 in Bradenton, FL
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
- Debut 09/02/2013
Drafted in the 2nd round (76th overall) by the New York Yankees in 2009 (signed for $1,250,000).
View Draft ReportThe scouting consensus seemed to be that Murphy had risen to the top of the pile of Florida prep catchers by the end of the season, after an amazing spring playing for the IMG Academy in Bradenton. Murphy hit .627 with 11 home runs in 102 at-bats, rapping 34 extra-base hits overall and striking out just four times. That built off a strong summer and fall performance, as Murphy starred for the Florida Bombers during Connie Mack play and the World Wood Bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla., in October 2008. Murphy's bat attracts most of the attention, as he has a short, sharp righthanded swing that generates good bat speed and plate coverage. Scouts grade his hit tool ahead of his power, though he's expected to produce average power with wood. He's also athletic, having made a shift from outfield (and occasionally third base) to catcher. He's shown he's more than capable of handling catcher, showing plus arm strength, solid receiving ability and a quick transfer. The Miami recruit has intelligence and makeup needed for the position, as well, and had hit his way into supplemental round consideration.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Murphy has taken part in Mariano Rivera's final meeting at the mound in 2013 was in the dugout for Derek Jeter's final game at Yankee Stadium in 2014. Those moments would rank as nice highlights for just about any player, but Murphy reached another milestone in 2014 when he socked his first big league homer. But because he spent so much time as Brian McCann's understudy while Francisco Cervelli was on the disabled list, Murphy was rusty when he did see everyday time at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Evaluators noticed it in his throws, which sometimes died as they got to second base, and in his Triple-A performance. A foul ball off the mask in August concussed Murphy, costing him about two weeks. Scouts see him as an average player in the long run, with average running and defensive abilities and a serviceable bat that could provide doubles power. With Cervelli traded to the Pirates and Gary Sanchez slated to start at Triple-A, Murphy will battle Austin Romine to be McCann's primary backup in 2015.
Signed for $1.25 million in 2009, Murphy played both catcher and third base early in his career and has become a durable option behind the plate. He caught a minor league-leading 105 games in 2013 while having his best offensive season, and he made his major league debut in September. He was behind the plate at Yankee Stadium for Mariano Rivera's final major league pitch. Murphy doesn't have a plus tool, but he has sharpened his skills in the minors. After years of hard work, he improved his footwork and his release and gunned down 37 percent of basestealers at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has become a much better, quieter receiver, though he can get a little stabby behind the plate at times. His line-drive bat produces consistent solid contact to the gaps with fringe-average power. He'll compete with Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine for the right to be Brian McCann's backup in New York in 2014, but McCann ahead and Gary Sanchez coming up behind put the squeeze on Murphy's chances to be a regular in New York.
Murphy made the full transformation into a catcher in 2012, working a career-high 97 games behind the plate and only one game at third base. His offensive production suffered as he spent more time catching, but he generally stayed healthy and still showed potential with the bat. Murphy has made significant progress behind the plate, particularly with his throwing. He threw out 32 percent of basestealers last year after erasing just 23 percent in his first three pro seasons. He has an average arm that usually delivers the ball to second base in about 2.0 seconds. His receiving could use polish, as could his game-calling, and he's still learning how to bring consistent energy and leadership behind the plate. Murphy long has impressed the Yankees with his balanced, easy swing. He's starting to show more pull power, though he's at his best going gap to gap. The Yankees have Austin Romine ahead of him and Gary Sanchez coming up behind him, so Murphy will have to put offense and defense together in one season, perhaps at Trenton in 2013, to establish himself as a future regular.
The Yankees love offensive-minded catchers, and they paid Murphy $1.25 million in the second round of the 2009 draft to keep him from attending Miami. He outplayed Gary Sanchez offensively and defensively while sharing time with him at catcher in Charleston in 2011, earning a promotion to high Class A Tampa. His season ended shortly afterward in July when he fouled a ball off his left foot, breaking a bone. New York is trying to find a place for Murphy's bat, as he offers a balanced swing and consistent linedrive, gap-to-gap power. He projects to hit 10-15 homers annually with his present swing, which has a fairly flat path. A solid athlete and average runner, Murphy has improved defensively. He has gained average arm strength through better mechanics and a long-toss program, and he also has quickened his release. He threw out 24 percent of basestealers in 2011. He's still a fringy receiver and blocker but has made enough progress to stay in the catching conversation. He also saw time at third base in 2011, and his fringy speed also makes the outfield corners a possibility. Murphy's total package resembles that of 16-year big leaguer Todd Zeile. Murphy is ticketed for a return to high Class A, where he'll keep catching while getting reps at third and possibly in the outfield.
The Yankees loved Murphy's bat, so they drafted him in the second round in 2009 and signed him away from a Miami commitment for $1.25 million. He started last season in extended spring training before moving up to low Class A in May. Murphy shared Charleston's catching duties with 2008 draftee Kyle Higashioka, and the two presented a stark contrast. While Higashioka's glove is ahead of his offense, Murphy lags behind defensively, to the point where he may not be a catcher much longer. He worked extensively at third base and the outfield corners in New York's instructional league minicamp in September, and Murphy has the bat to move to less-demanding defensive positions. He has a professional approach and good balance and rhythm. He shows above-average barrel awareness for his age and has above-average pull power potential. He should be able to hit the ball to all fields with authority as he gains experience and work himself into more hitter's counts. Murphy has many issues defensively, starting with slow feet and modest athleticism that led to 11 errors and 13 passed balls in just 53 games behind the plate last year. He has an average arm and threw out just 23 percent of basestealers in 2010. With his arm strength and fringe-average speed, he should be a capable defender in left field if he can't handle third base. Murphy has significant offensive upside, though some scouts question just how much power will develop unless he gets more physical. He may repeat low Class A this year but has the bat to move more quickly.
After missing his junior season in high school following knee surgery, Murphy moved to catcher as a prep senior and hit .627 with 11 home runs last spring. The Yankees bought him away from a Miami commitment with a $1.25 million bonus. The Yankees love Murphy's blend of hitting ability and athleticism, which is above-average for a catcher. He has a feel for hitting and knows his swing well. He generates good bat speed and pairs a low-maintenance, line-drive stroke with a polished offensive approach. He should hit for average and eventually should add solid power. He augments his plus arm with a quick transfer. Murphy is raw defensively and lacks experience handling velocity. The Yankees were encouraged with his rapid improvement after signing, but he'll have to polish his receiving and learn how to call games and handle a staff. He's a fringe-average runner who figures to slow down with the grind of catching. The Yankees have spent $7.35 million on six highly touted amateur catchers since 2006. Murphy has as much athletic ability as any of them, which may prompt him to switch position
Minor League Top Prospects
The Yankees drafted Murphy for his bat and he?s remained a sound hitter throughout his minor league career. Scouts now seen him as a potential regular catcher as his defensive chops have improved. He has a line-drive stroke that he uses to spray balls to all fields, and he has enough pop to produce a career-best 12 home runs this season between Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Managers around the league noted how well Murphy handled Trenton?s pitching staff and consistently ranked him as one of the better catch-and-throw guys in the circuit. Those observations were backed up by his 48 percent success rate at throwing out basestealers, as his solid-average arm is accurate and aided by a quick transfer. Murphy still does get a bit stabby with his receiving at times, and he surrendered 13 passed balls across two levels, so more defensive seasoning remains in the cards.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the New York Yankees in 2014
Background: The Yankees love offensive-minded catchers, and they paid Murphy $1.25 million in the second round of the 2009 draft to keep him from attending Miami. He outplayed Gary Sanchez offensively and defensively while sharing time with him at catcher in Charleston in 2011, earning a promotion to high Class A Tampa. His season ended shortly afterward in July when he fouled a ball off his left foot, breaking a bone. Scouting Report: New York is trying to find a place for Murphy's bat, as he offers a balanced swing and consistent line-drive, gap-to-gap power. He projects to hit 10-15 homers annually with his present swing, which has a fairly flat path. A solid athlete and average runner, Murphy has improved defensively. He has gained average arm strength through better mechanics and a long-toss program and quickened his release. He threw out 24 percent of basestealers in 2011. He's a fringy receiver and blocker but has made enough progress to stay in the catching conversation. He also saw time at third base in 2011, and his fringy speed also makes the outfield corners a possibility. The Future: Murphy's total package resembles that of 16-year big leaguer Todd Zeile. He's ticketed for a return to Tampa, where he'll catch while also playing third and the outfield.