Up next in our 2016 Dodgers profiles is non-roster catcher Jack Murphy.
Murphy in 10 words or less
Excellent receiver, legend down under.
Is it better to give or receive?
The Dodgers got Jack Murphy from the Blue Jays last September as the player to be named later for infielder Darwin Barney. It wasn't the most newsworthy of transactions, especially since the minor league season was over and Murphy was set to be a minor league free agent after the World Series.
But the Dodgers put on a recruiting pitch of sorts, bringing Murphy out to Camelback Ranch, and were able to re-sign him to a minor league contract for 2016.
"I was hanging out in the cabin, not thinking anything except would I get a job next year since I was going to be a free agent," Murphy recalled. "They flew me right out, it was the best thing for me, definitely. I got another month of baseball, got to meet some of the guys around here and got to work with people so when I came in this year it wasn't completely fresh and new. It was a little bit of a strange story getting traded but it was awesome."
But why were the Dodgers so interested in a soon-to-be-28-year-old who hit .228/.310/.361 in his minor league career with only 14 games above Double-A? Murphy happens to be an excellent receiver behind the plate.
Murphy not only rated near the top among all major and minor league catchers in framing, per Baseball Prospectus (those two ahead of him happen to be in the same clubhouse), but passed the eye test as well from coaches and pitchers.
"Murph's a guy who pitchers love throwing to, so what I expect from him is to continue with that same path," Blue Jays catching coordinator Sal Fasano told Alexis Brudnicki of ABL.com in 2014. "And Murph's going to play in the big leagues. It's just a matter of time and then an opportunity. I think as long as he stays consistent with his work and he keeps working hard, he'll be just fine."
"It was really weak and hideous, but then I got three hits, so I decided to leave it."
-Murphy, on the origin of his quite-noticeable mustache
"I would shave my face before the start of every series, but one time I left this mustache. It was really weak and hideous, but then I got three hits, so I decided to leave it. Then I got two hits the next day and two more after that, so I kept it the next series. I kept hitting and we kept hitting, and most of the guys on the team had mustaches, and it became a thing in the city we were at. To me, it reminds me of good times and things going well. Now I'm so used to it, it's just second nature."
One number3 The number of catchers in Dodgers history at least as tall as Murphy's 6'4, including Sandy Alomar Jr. (6'5), Tom Haller and Don Crow.
Murphy has played the last four seasons down under, with Canberra of the Australian Baseball League. It started with a relationship between the Blue Jays and Canberra, and Murphy developed a relationship with the coaches in Australia.
"I needed to make some big adjustments with my hitting just to become even an average professional hitter," Murphy said. "That was the weakest part of my game."
Murphy has made three All-Star teams in Australia, and worked for the first two years with then-Blue Jays minor league coach Clayton McCullough, now the Dodgers' minor league coordinator. Murphy's best year in Australia was 2014, when he hit .356/.418/.534 and captured league MVP honors.
Murphy is on a minor league contract with the Dodgers.
|2016 projections: Age 28 season
Murphy will bring value to the backstops and pitchers in both Dodgers Oklahoma cities this season.
Be sure to enter your guesses and predictions in the comments below.