For what seems like forever, the Yankees have been loaded with catching prospects. First we had the can’t miss prospect Jesus Montero, then Austin Romine, and then there is Gary Sanchez who has been hyped since he was 17-years-old. Montero was dealt to Seattle for Michael Pineda and is slowly eating himself out of the league. Austin Romine can’t seem to hit major league-caliber pitching and has had his history of injuries. Gary Sanchez isn’t cracking the major league roster any time soon. Lost in the shuffle is the catcher who has hit at all levels, but was never hyped the same way the other three were. Enter John Ryan Murphy.
The former 2009 second round pick is the Yankees’ youngest player, and the youngest catcher at the major league level. The 23-year-old was a September call up last year, and while he didn’t hit all that well, he did have the fortune of one of the greatest highlights anyone could ask for; on September 26, 2013, Murphy caught the final career pitch of the legendary Mariano Rivera. Not a bad start to a promising young career.
This year, to no one’s surprise, the Yankees went out and signed perennial All-Star catcher Brian McCann to a 5-year, $85 million deal. To start off the season, McCann was backed up by Francisco Cervelli, Romine was sent to Triple-A, and Murphy again was buried behind three catchers. It didn’t take long before Cervelli went on the DL with a Grade-2 hamstring strain, and the Yankees chose to call up Murphy instead of Austin Romine. They certainly made the right decision.
In limited time this season, Murphy has made the most of his opportunities, hitting .382 in 14 games with an OPS of .900. Add in a homer and six RBI and you have the making of a good young catcher. With McCann’s presence, Murphy knows his playing time will be limited.
In my role right now I just have to understand that I have to be ready to play at any time,” Murphy told Jorge Castillo of NJ.com.
So even though I’m not playing for the first eight, nine innings or whatever the game was at that time, I still have to be mentally locked in and ready to go.”
If John Ryan Murphy continues to hit, hopefully Joe Girardi will find more ways to get him in the lineup. His successful pinch-hit RBI single in Chicago a couple nights ago shows that he is definitely a viable option off the bench. It will be interesting to watch the development of Murphy behind McCann as he has the benefit of learning from one of the games best at the position. Everyone should get to know John Ryan Murphy because the way he is playing, he could be here a while.