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I'm done with Fernando Rodney

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Article: Rodney Living His Own Experience

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Ryan Pressly Appreciation Thread

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Twins Banking On Murphy's Growth

Prior to attending TwinsFest in January, John Ryan Murphy had only visited Minnesota once in his life. It was last summer, when the Yankees faced the Twins at Target Field, and it was a memorable trip for the young backstop.

He hit the biggest home run of his career on a Saturday night in late July, taking Glen Perkins deep for a three-run shot to snap a ninth-inning tie and lift New York to an 8-5 victory.
Image courtesy of Jerome Miron, USA Today
The power flashes haven’t been all that frequent for Murphy, who has four homers and a .374 slugging percentage in 284 career plate appearances, but the Twins are counting on his continued growth in that department as well as others.

“I don’t think he’s reached his peak,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony. “I think he has more potential."

Adapting to his new surroundings in the Midwest will be the least of Murphy’s worries. For now, he’s more focused on building a rapport with his new battery-mates and learning their individual styles and tendencies.

Having spent his entire career up to this point in one organization, he admits that the process of acclimating to a new staff has been a little more challenging than he expected.

"It’s one thing to talk about the pitches, and talk about what they like to do, but you have to catch them,” Murphy said. "It comes with time. You have to be back there and see them, see what their curveball does. Everyone’s a little bit different."

As Twins bench coach Joe Vavra sees it, Murphy is coming along nicely. Vavra was acting manager on Tuesday when the 24-year-old served as catcher for eight innings in a game where five Minnesota relievers combined to hold the Baltimore Orioles to one run on four hits. He credited Murphy for developing a “good ebb and flow” with the pitchers and pointed out that you rarely saw a call shaken off.

“He’s real responsive to me,” Vavra said. “Real quick and understands the pitchers’ tempos.”

Murphy didn’t take up catching full-time until his sophomore year of high school, after pitching and playing third base a freshman. He would have continued to refine his skills behind the plate in college at the University of Miami, but the Yankees lured him away with a $1.25 million signing bonus as a 2009 second-round draft pick after Murphy batted .627 with 11 homers as a senior.

Antony said that the Twins had eyes on Murphy back then, but it wasn’t clear where he would play.

“The Yankees took him and made him a catcher, and he really developed into a good receiver.”

So six years later, with a blatant need at the position, the Twins traded away former first-round pick Aaron Hicks to bring Murphy aboard. Now, they’re hoping that he’ll continue to evolve both offensively and defensively.

By all accounts, they’re pleased with where he’s at on the defensive end. But it looks as though his bat will be what makes or breaks him.

That’s an area where Murphy has something to prove. While he was viewed as a strong offensive prospect as a prep (“He was a guy coming out of the draft we thought could hit,” said Antony), his .263/.327/.406 line in the minors doesn’t suggest a ton of upside, and this spring he hasn’t done much at all. After going 0-for-3 on Tuesday, he’s now batting .091 with zero extra-base hits in Grapefruit action.

He has, however, shown a decent eye at the plate, drawing six walks against six strikeouts. And while his 685 career OPS in the big leagues is hardly impressive, he has improved his production each year. In 2015, as Brian McCann’s backup with the Yankees, he slashed .277/.327/.406. For a catcher who gets it done defensively, that’s more than adequate.

Vavra, a former hitting coach, doesn’t put a ton of stock into Murphy’s spring slump.

“He’s underneath a lot,” he said. “Underneath and probably a little late. It’s timing more than anything.”

Maybe a little bit too much self-imposed pressure, as well.

“First impression with us, obviously. He wants to do it all right away.”

Fortunately, he doesn’t have to do it all right away. He’ll be splitting time this year with Kurt Suzuki, whose locker in the Hammond Stadium clubhouse is right next to his.

With a veteran mentor, a fully supportive coaching staff and no obstacles blocking him from ultimately taking the reins as full-time starter, Murphy could hardly ask for a more ideal situation.

“I’m certainly in a good position,” he acknowledges.

Now, all he needs to do is grow.

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35 Comments

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Old Twins Cap
Mar 22 2016 10:19 PM

KC has Salvy Perez.St. Louis Yadier Molina.SF Posey.

 

There's different ways to win in MLB, but catching is the glue.

 

Gotta hope this guy has room to grow.

    • wickedslider likes this
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ScrapTheNickname
Mar 22 2016 10:40 PM

Solid trade, in that Murphy is a catching prospect, and we did not have anyone coming up.

 

    • KGB and HitInAPinch like this

 

.277/.327/.406. For a catcher who gets it done defensively, that’s more than adequate.

 

He did that while sporting a 25% k rate and a completely unsustainable .357 BABIP. The BABIP will certainly come down, the question is can he get his k rate down, as of now it's tough to say because of his big time struggles against the curve. If it doesn't you are looking at a guy who will struggle to hit .240 or so in the majors with not enough "pop/power" to make up for it.

 

That doesn't mean he doesn't have a future, just he likely tops out as a backup moving forward. If he can get the k rate down, then he can become hopefully an average catcher. Color me skeptical for now though....he does have youth on his side though.

    • hybridbear and rghrbek like this

“I don’t think he’s reached his peak,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony. “I think he has more potential."

 

I sure hope so. I can't stop myself from thinking that he is what the Twins consider a number one draft pick. After all, he is what the Twins felt was worthy of a trade for their #1 draft pick. Add the investment of years in development for Hicks, and Murphy is what they figure is a comparable and worthy talent to be a fair trade? I sure hope he hasn't reached his peak, and has more potential. I hope further that he actually achieves it.

    • hybridbear, HitInAPinch and wickedslider like this

 

 

 

“I don’t think he’s reached his peak,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony. “I think he has more potential."

 

I sure hope so. I can't stop myself from thinking that he is what the Twins consider a number one draft pick. After all, he is what the Twins felt was worthy of a trade for their #1 draft pick. Add the investment of years in development for Hicks, and Murphy is what they figure is a comparable and worthy talent to be a fair trade? I sure hope he hasn't reached his peak, and has more potential. I hope further that he actually achieves it.

Aaron Hicks is worth no more or no less because he was once a number one draft pick.
Chris Parmelee, Alex Wimmers and Levi Michael were also number one draft picks and they are nearly worthless now.

 

    • Seth Stohs and howieramone2 like this

Ya, I don't get the whole "we traded a number 1 pick for him angle".

 

However, this is the third OF they've traded now, hopefully this works out better than the Span trade....

    • h2oface, HitInAPinch, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this
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HitInAPinch
Mar 23 2016 06:25 AM

 

“I don’t think he’s reached his peak,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony. “I think he has more potential."

 

I sure hope so. I can't stop myself from thinking that he is what the Twins consider a number one draft pick. After all, he is what the Twins felt was worthy of a trade for their #1 draft pick. Add the investment of years in development for Hicks, and Murphy is what they figure is a comparable and worthy talent to be a fair trade? I sure hope he hasn't reached his peak, and has more potential. I hope further that he actually achieves it.

Well, that's not quite the entire story.Catcher is a position of need for a lot of teams.For the Twins, well, let's just say it's more than that. 

 

Yeah, Hicks was a #1 pick for the Twins [ #14 overall], but is still working his way up to that status.With the size of need the Twins have at catcher, I think it's a fair trade.I'm generalizing here a bit, but Hicks, with the advantage of experience, definitely has the edge right now.And I'm a believer he can do more.I'm looking forward to Murphy's development and taking over the starting job.

    • h2oface and ken like this

Draft picks are like cars. They depreciate in value immediately.

    • PseudoSABR, spinowner and sane16 like this
If Rob Anthony has evaluated Murphy and thinks he has not peaked, take it to the bank.
    • Thrylos likes this

It'll be five years before we know if this is a good trade.Hopefully it works out for both teams. I like it, the Twins needed a young catcher with some upside, they have lots of outfielders, they traded from a position of strength, what more can you ask for in a trade?

    • ScrapTheNickname and howieramone2 like this

 

It'll be five years before we know if this is a good trade.Hopefully it works out for both teams. I like it, the Twins needed a young catcher with some upside, they have lots of outfielders, they traded from a position of strength, what more can you ask for in a trade?

Boof Bonser

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Winston Smith
Mar 23 2016 11:22 AM
Send Murphy down so he can play everyday and let Hicks be the backup.
    • sane16 likes this
Actually I hope he starts hitting so he can start for the Twins. He's already better defensively
    • sane16 likes this

For all the Hicks' lovers.....KLAW has him as one of his breakout players this year.....

    • DaveW and h2oface like this

 

For all the Hicks' lovers.....KLAW has him as one of his breakout players this year.....

 

I expect his numbers will be inflated due to getting about half his overall reps against lefties, which he has always hit (a semi platoon player in NY).And these boards counting him as yet another player that had more success elsewhere.

 

And his HR's will likely be inflated in that stadium as well.

 

I expect his numbers will be inflated due to getting about half his overall reps against lefties, which he has always hit (a semi platoon player in NY).And these boards counting him as yet another player that had more success elsewhere.

 

And his HR's will likely be inflated in that stadium as well.

 

He thinks Hicks will play pretty much full time, since most of the Yankee OF are old, often injured (thanks for making me look bad, Ellsbury), etc.

    • DaveW likes this

For all the Hicks' lovers.....KLAW has him as one of his breakout players this year.....


This would be one time when I agree with Law.

I think this trade will be viewed as a steal by the Yankees a couple years from now.
    • DaveW and h2oface like this
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ScrapTheNickname
Mar 23 2016 01:05 PM

 

Send Murphy down so he can play everyday and let Hicks be the backup.

That would just confuse the hell out of the old timers looking at the box score in the newspapers.

    • USAFChief, spycake and sane16 like this

 

Aaron Hicks is worth no more or no less because he was once a number one draft pick.
Chris Parmelee, Alex Wimmers and Levi Michael were also number one draft picks and they are nearly worthless now.

 

 

Maybe so. It is just so hard for myself to talk myself into that and treat it as fact - that being a #1 draft pick has an insignificant value. This year, a #1 draft pick is worth a salary of the $15.8 million qualifying offer for the year, or about 15% of the Twins payroll (just a guess without actually knowing the exact Twins' payroll - but you get the point). I understand that that is a bit of a spin on the qualifying. My mind is often not fair with its internal dialogue. It is harder to quantify what Parmelee and Whimmers and Michaeal were worth as the assigned value didn't start until the 2013 season, but now my mind is even more troubled, since you brought that up. And maybe I just shouldn't think that way, and just throw away the whole idea of worth of a #1 pick that MLB has assigned and evaluates and has raised form $13.3 million to $14.1 million to $15.3 million to the present $15.8 over the last 4 years. This trading from position of strength argument my thought process has even more trouble with - a position so strong that a 3rd baseman is now playing out of position in the show without ever playing the outfield before in his development. I continue to doubt, and have trouble joining the club, that might think the evaluations by Rob Anthony and the Twins front office personnel is absolutely or necessarily something I can take to the bank (Chris Parmelee, Alex Wimmers and Levi Michael, say no more).

If the Twins want to see Murphy's potential, I would hope that he gets the majority of games behind the plate and in the lineup sooner than later

 

Aaron Hicks is worth no more or no less because he was once a number one draft pick.
Chris Parmelee, Alex Wimmers and Levi Michael were also number one draft picks and they are nearly worthless now.

 

 

Along with Alex Meyer.

 

This would be one time when I agree with Law.

I think this trade will be viewed as a steal by the Yankees a couple years from now.

I think most non Twins fans already view it as a steal. As of now they traded a back up catcher for a guy who has gold glove and 20/20 type potential at CF. If Hicks turns into what he potentially can, this trade ends up as a disaster.

I guess I don't understand why Suzuki is still even on the roster. Why not just give Murphy the starting job (4-5 games a week) and back him up with Hicks (who can't hit, but is solid defensively)

 

I'm sure they could at least get a PTNBL back for Suzuki, no?

    • Mike Sixel likes this

I think most non Twins fans already view it as a steal. As of now they traded a back up catcher for a guy who has gold glove and 20/20 type potential at CF. If Hicks turns into what he potentially can, this trade ends up as a disaster.


Murphy has just as good a chance to be a gold glover as hicks. If he were still with the Twins he would be the second best defensive center fielder on the roster.
    • howieramone2 likes this

I think most non Twins fans already view it as a steal. As of now they traded a back up catcher for a guy who has gold glove and 20/20 type potential at CF. If Hicks turns into what he potentially can, this trade ends up as a disaster.


Murphy has just as good a chance to be a gold glover as hicks. If he were still with the Twins he would be the second best defensive center fielder on the roster.

I think that's a record, 11 hours and 17 minutes between double posting. :)

    • USAFChief and h2oface like this

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