Join Jays From the Couch as we review the highlights and lowlights of Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Patrick Murphy 2017 season
I am sure Toronto didn’t envision Patrick Murphy playing for Lansing in 2017 when they selected him in the 3rd round of the 2013 Draft. Prior to 2016, Murphy had thrown just 4 professional innings, missing all 2014 and 2015.
The 22-yr-old from Chandler, Arizona, pitched just 4.0 IP between 2014 and 2015. Finally healthy, Murphy started 2016 with the Lansing Lugnuts before his struggles got him sent to Vancouver. As a member of the C’s, Murphy excelled and re-established himself as a future major league pitcher.
Heading into the 2017 season the 6-foot-4 righty was rated the Blue Jays 17th best prospect by MLB Pipeline but is now considered Toronto’s 25th rated prospect.
Patrick Murphy displayed an improved fastball which was clocked in at 97 mph but consistently sits around 92-93 mph. His secondary offering is a power curve with late break and continues to improve. Lastly, Murphy spins a nice curve that flashes average.
Patrick Murphy’s 2017 Stats
Murphy was one of Lansing’s more consistent starters. Had he not been bitten by the injury bug, he might have spent more time in Dunedin. Despite missing time, Murphy increased his innings total from 90.2 IP in ’16 to 106.2 IP. This allowed him to start a career-high 19 games and spend more time in the rotation.
He threw 8 games of 6+ innings, completing 7 IP three times.
Patrick Murphy continued to frustrate batters by producing 166 groundballs which resulted in 95 groundouts, good for 48.7 GB% and 1.39 GO/AO. Despite solid numbers, they were down from the 1.70 GO/AO he posted with the C’s in 2016.
Keeping the ball on the ground is one thing, keeping it in the yard is whole other accomplishment as he only allowed 5 home runs. Patrick Murphy allowed a home run every 18 innings and finished with a 6.6 HR/FB.
For a guy that walked 3.35 batters per 9 innings, control may not be a word you’d use to describe Patrick Murphy. He hit just one batter and threw 3 wild pitches which were down from the 11 he uncorked with Vancouver.
While not considered a strikeout pitcher, Murphy misses his share of bats. He had 8 games with 5+ strikeouts, with 7IP being his season high.
According to Baseball Reference, Murphy had two games with game scores of 70 and 72. On May 18th, he earned the win after allowing one run on three hits and 5 K. Ten days later he was at it again with 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, and a strikeout in a no-decision.
When healthy, Murphy was good and despite walking (11BB) as much as he struck out (12K) in May, it was his best month. He finished with a record of one win and one loss while posting a 2.23 ERA over 32.1 IP.
Murphy missed a start in April, spending time on the DL between the 19 and 24th. He landed back on the DL in June after allowing one run over 6 innings in a June 2nd loss. He started a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays on July 18th and returned to the Lugnuts on August 1st.
Despite posting a 2.94 ERA with Lansing, his 4.09 FIP and 4.20 xFIP suggests lady luck was on his side. A higher FIP may foreshadow possible regression in 2018.
While he did a good job holding left-handed batters to a .243 batting average, right-handed batters batted .285 with 4 HR. On the plus side, right-handed batters grounded out a ton with 40 GO vs 10 AO.
Walks were a problem for Murphy. He walked 4 batters in a start 3 times. Fortunately, all three games were at the beginning of the season, twice in May and once in April, as he showed improvement after returning from the DL in August.
The 22-yr-0ld righty will start 2018 where he finished 2017, with the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. He got 2 starts with the D-Jays to close out the season which is always a good indication of where they will start the next season.
Health. Health. Health. This is what will determine how Murphy’s 2018 goes. Murphy is a strong kid and could still add some more velocity pushing his fastball even closer to 100 mph. He should be joined in the D-Jays rotation by Nate Pearson, Justin Maese, Angel Perdomo (???), and Josh DeGraaf/Taylor Saucedo.
MLB Pipeline has Murphy’s ETA estimated at 2019. With the upper minors filling up with some of the systems highly rated pitching prospects, there may not be the urgency to rush/promote him in 2018.
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