Patrick Murphy Turns A Corner
Years of patient rehab and hard work paid off for 23-year-old righthander Patrick Murphy in a breakout 2018, which made all the success he enjoyed at high Class A Dunedin all the more enjoyable.
"There were definitely times when I was rehabbing where I wasn't sure what was going to happen, if I'd ever make it through, if I'd ever turn the corner,” Murphy said. "Just being able to put this first whole season together, with a heavy workload, is definitely rewarding. It makes me excited for the future.”
The Florida State League pitcher of the year certainly established himself as one to watch in the ever-deepening Blue Jays farm system. In 26 starts he recorded a 2.64 ERA in 146.2 innings with 135 strikeouts and 50 walks.
Even more impressive is that later in the season his velocity picked up, with Murphy touching triple digits. That made a changeup that had already developed into a weapon all the more effective.
"That was my goal going into the year, to progress my changeup further,” said Murphy. "About the end of May, early June, when things started rolling, it was definitely because my changeup had finally clicked. I had the confidence to throw it in any count, to any location, to both righties and lefties. It got me out of some situations, some jams, at times.”
The Blue Jays made Murphy a 2013 third-round pick out of high school in Arizona, but because of injuries he didn't really get his career going until 2016. He had Tommy John surgery in high school, then thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2014, followed by surgery to reposition nerves in his elbow in 2015.
Murphy pitched well at low Class A Lansing in 2017 and at Dunedin this year, so his place on the 40-man roster this offseason seems assured. The next step for him developmentally will be locating to finer areas of the zone.
Number Of Minor League Pitchers Throwing 100 MPH Decreases In 2018
In conversations with scouts and front office officials during the season many of them mentioned seeing less pitchers with top-of-the-scale fastballs than they had seen in other recent seasons.
>> The stacked Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats went a perfect 6-0 in the playoffs to win the Eastern League title, a goal manager John Schneider set at the beginning of the season: "In my mind you can develop and you can win," he said, "and if each step along the way you reinforce how important winning is, how important being a good teammate is, you're going to get the best of both worlds.”