Chris Murphy Looks Like A Sixth-Round Steal
Earlier this decade, lefthander Chris Murphy would have represented precisely the sort of pitcher who was easily overlooked, someone whose relatively diminutive stature—6-foot-1, 175 pounds—resulted in a natural assumption of a reliever profile.
But in an era where pitch quality has surpassed arm action and size in importance while profiling pitchers, Murphy’s pro debut at short-season Lowell turned heads and created a sense of possibility for a pitcher taken in the sixth round out of San Diego.
"After watching him, I was like, ‘Man, don’t sleep on this one here. This kid can pitch,’ ” Lowell pitching coach Nick Green said. "He has the complete package. I think the Red Sox got a steal with that one.”
Certainly, Murphy’s performance at Lowell made such a case. In 10 starts spanning 33.1 innings, he forged a 1.08 ERA while striking out 34, walking seven and minimizing hard contact, yielding only one home run.
Murphy showed a promising pitch mix in Lowell, sitting at 93-95 mph with deception and ride through the zone that allowed him to miss bats in the New York-Penn League. He also showed a changeup that played as plus, an offering that allowed him to dominate in his debut, while also showing a solid curveball and slider. He filled the strike zone with that overall pitch mix.
Murphy's mix is described as polished, suggesting the possibility of a relatively quick mover through the system. The 21-year-old shows the traits of a back-of-the-rotation starter who has a chance to move quickly based on the overall pitch mix.
Some evaluators view him as similar to Jalen Beeks, the lefthander who progressed through the Red Sox system before emerging as a trade chip that resulted in the acquisition of Nate Eovaldi in the 2018 World Series title run—a profile that would suggest considerable value for a player taken on day two of the 2019 draft.
— Middle infielder C.J. Chatham has been taking fly balls in the outfield in the Arizona Fall League in preparation for a potential role as a super-utility player.
— Though not added to the big league roster, third baseman Bobby Dalbec spent a week at Fenway Park with the Red Sox in September to work on cleaning up some movements in his swing while also gaining familiarity with the big league setting in anticipation of a potential 2020 debut.