Yankees Top Prospects Countdown: #9 J.R. Murphy


Continuing our countdown of Baseball America’s Top-10 Yankees preseason prospects, we will move right along to…

#9 – J.R. Murphy

Bats: R                        Throws: R
Height: 6’0”             Weight: 190
D.O.B.: 5/13/91          Highest MiLB Level: A+

2009 (Rookie): .333/.405/.485; 37 PA, 33 AB, 4 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 8 K
2010 (A): .255/.327/.376; 374 PA, 330 AB, 46 R, 15 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 4 SB, 36 BB, 64 K
2011 (A+): .287/.325/.434; 366 PA, 341 AB, 39 R, 29 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 2 SB, 21 BB, 47 K

Much like Slade Heathcott, who we profiled yesterday, Murphy was also sidelined for the latter part of the 2011 season due to a foot injury he sustained when he fouled a ball off of himself. Murphy, who was drafted in the second round of the 2009 Draft right out of high school, is one of what seems to be a never-ending line of top Yankees catching prospects.

Like Jesus Montero, Murphy is primarily known as an offensive catcher, though his defense is improving by leaps and bounds and he is establishing himself behind the plate as a guy who can gun down would-be base stealers. During his 2010 season with the Charleston RiverDogs Murphy threw out 23% of base stealers (20 out of 68), and improved that number to 24% (23 out of 72) in 2011. As you can see from his stat lines, he also improved on his doubles power, going from 15 in 2010 to 29 in 2011. Murphy could stand to develop a bit more patience at the plate and draw more walks, but his low strikeout numbers speak volumes about his ability to put the ball in play.

So will Murphy actually remain a catcher, or is he destined to go the DH/possible outfielder route that Montero seems to be headed down? Only time will tell, but Murphy’s improvement both at the plate and behind it during the 2011 season, coupled with his youth, suggest that he has a great chance of reaching his incredible potential.

For the profile of our #10 prospect, Slade Heathcott, click here.