A’s catching prospect Sean Murphy is a superstar in the making

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Sean Murphy, Oakland A’s – photo credit Kim Contreras, @Cu_As

Sean Murphy‘s path to professional baseball was not a traditional one. The now 23-year-old catching prospect for the Oakland Athletics went undrafted out of high school and was just a walk-on at Wright State University in Dayton, OH.

He came off of his freshman year with the Wright State Raiders as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and later earned League Honors for 2015-16. He was taken in the third round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft by the Oakland Athletics, becoming the second-highest draft pick ever to come out of Wright State.

From walk-on to a third round draft pick in a matter of years? That should tell you something right there. It tells you that Murphy is a special type of player and his talents went largely, and obviously, un-recognized during his high school career.

After bypassing Class-A level ball, Murphy jumped right onto the A’s Class-A Advanced Stockton Ports of the California League where he earned All-Star honors. On the fast-track to the big leagues, Murphy earned a mid-season promotion to Double-A Midland.

He followed that up with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League for the A’s. Against even stiffer competition he proved he could play well on both sides of the ball. Murphy played in 18 games for the Mesa Solar Sox, batting .309 with a .413 on-base percentage and was honored as a member of the All-Arizona Fall League team by MLB Pipeline.

Currently, MLB Pipeline has Murphy ranked as the eighth top prospect in the A’s farm system. Prior to the season I ranked him number five on Prospects1500’s 2018 Top 50 A’s Prospects List. He is also considered the fourth best catching prospect in all of baseball also according to MLB Pipeline.

Known mainly for his exceptional defensive abilities, Murphy has plus-plus arm strength. A’s manager Bob Melvin has even compared him to A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, who is said to have one of – if not the – strongest arms in the game today. Melvin called Murphy’s arm “electric … like Chapman behind the plate.”

Throwing out runners is then obviously not an issue for Murphy. Most guys won’t even attempt to run on him. In 2017 he played behind the plate in 91 games and only 46 runners even attempted to steal.

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Sean Murphy, Oakland A’s – photo credit Kim Contreras, @Cu_As

On top of having a Chapman-like arm, Murphy can receive, frame and block pitches at what is already considered a big league level. A fast learner, Murphy improved so much this spring with pitch calling and pitch sequencing that A’s director of player development Keith Liepmann referred to him as “a sponge.”

When it comes to offense, Murphy has above-average pop in his bat. Despite needing a bit more time in Double-A and likely stint with the A’s Triple-A Affiliate Nashville Sounds to learn to use the opposite field a little more often. Liepmann projects that Murphy will be “a gap-to-gap guy, (hitting) maybe 15 homers a year.” That’s definitely some pop, especially coming from a catcher, which isn’t usually expected to be a very productive offensive position.

Murphy is on the fast-track to the majors with the Oakland Athletics so don’t be surprised when you begin hearing his name everywhere in the very near future.

Article featured image of Sean Murphy – courtesy Carlos Soria, @PhotoSaladPhoto

About Jen Rainwater 5 Articles
Front Page Writer at Athletics Nation. Oakland A's Writer at Prospects1500. Associate Site Manager at MLB.com. Avid MLB fan and (obvious) Oakland A's fanatic. Original "Oakland A's Socks Girl." Cowboys fan. Dubs fan. Cancer. Liberal. Animal lover but definite cat person. Follow Jen on Twitter at @Baseball_Jen.


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