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Red Sox Lefty Chris Murphy Uses Analytics To Improve

For lefthander Chris Murphy, entry into pro ball after being drafted by the Red Sox out of the University of San Diego in the sixth round in 2019 involved an immediate re-education.

“The first thing the pitching coordinator told me when I got here was, 'You shouldn't throw a fastball below the belt,' " Murphy said.

" 'Throw your fastball up in the zone, and you can throw your offspeed pitches for strikes, and you can throw your fastball even higher with two strikes and guys will swing.'

“I've taken that and run, and that's where my development has gone.”

In his time with the Red Sox, Murphy has developed a reputation as a pitcher who eagerly incorporates analytics into his plan of attack and pitch design.

In addition to examining where his pitch mix—anchored by a four-seam fastball that sits at 92-94 mph and peaks at 96-97—best plays, he’s also become fascinated by the work needed to tunnel his pitches.

Most recently, Murphy has emphasized pairing his changeup and slider to give him pitches that look the same out of the hand but break in different directions.

In 2021, Murphy offered glimpses of a pitcher who could emerge as an MLB starting or bullpen depth option in 2022. In 101 innings split between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland, he forged a 4.62 ERA with a 30.2% strikeout rate and 8.5% walk rate.

Murphy completely neutralized lefthanded hitters, striking out 38% and allowing a .134 average. But he proved vulnerable to righthanded hitters, who hit .277 with all 21 homers he allowed.

Murphy's potentially above-average changeup, along with a cutter that he’s worked to develop, could lead to potential improvement against righties. Doing so would up his chances of succeeding in the rotation or in multi-inning relief.

As an upper-level pitcher who is not on the 40-man roster, Murphy has a chance to use spring training as a platform to impress the Red Sox and put himself in position for MLB consideration.


Tyler McDonough, a third-rounder out of North Carolina State in 2021, impressed the team in both center field and at second base in his pro debut, and may get some looks at shortstop in 2022.

Ceddanne Rafaela emerged as the best defensive outfielder in the system in 2021, his first year adding the grass to his multi-positional infield résumé.


Chris Murphy Looks Like A Sixth-Round Steal

An overlooked San Diego product with a conventional name has unconventional success in his pro debut.

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