With the departure of Russell Martin via free agency, the New York Yankees were expecting catcher to be a bit of a black hole offensively. The plan was to go with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart and have enough guys to make up the difference offensively. The problem was though that the extreme amount of injuries the team has had threw a monkey wrench in that.
Then a funny thing happened. Cervelli hit better than people thought. He hit .269 with three homers and eight RBI in the first 17 games. Then he, like many of the Yankees, got hurt and hasn’t been seen since and may not be the rest of the season. The team has gone with Stewart and Austin Romine at the plate instead due to the injury. Here are their stats:
Stewart: .228 3 HR 16 RBI 32% caught stealing
Romine: .198 0 HR 5 RBI 25% caught stealing
Here is the numbers for a mystery minor leaguer in the Yankees’ system:
AA: .268 6 HR 25 RBI in 49 games. 48% caught stealing
AAA: .292 3HR 13 RBI in 34 games. 31% caught stealing
Who might that catcher be? J.R. Murphy. The former second round pick in 2009 has ascended all the way to AAA this year and has put up some pretty decent numbers in doing so. He was a bit of the forgotten catcher in the system with the emergence of Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez in the lower minors, but Murphy is pretty good in his own right.
Is it risky to bring up guys during a pennant race? Sure it is. However, the Rays did it in 2008 with David Price. The Orioles did it last year with Manny Machado. Is Murphy of that stature? No of course now. However, his bat might be better right now than either Stewart or Romine and his defense has been improving.
Instead of going out and getting a veteran like Carlos Ruiz, for example, why not dip into the farm for help? For a team that is lacking young, offensive pieces, Murphy should be given a chance. Instead of giving up on someone like Murphy for a rental, he should be thrown into the fire at the major league level.
He couldn’t do any worse than what they have.