I was in attendance at the A’s Rangers Spring Training game in Surprise, AZ on Monday. A multitude of moves happened that day culminating with Sean Murphy getting the start. Murphy was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2010 draft out of Keystone College in Pennsylvania. Not much has been mentioned about him since his selection in the draft. That is until Monday where Murphy made a name for himself.
The Rangers put out a lineup that contained the likes of Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Alex Rios, Mitch Moreland, and Leonys Martin. That is the majority of their opening day lineup. Murphy, who has never pitched above Double-A Midland before, had a tough task ahead of him, even for a Spring Training game. With not much known about Murphy I was interested to see why the A’s were having such an inexperienced player get the start at the Major League camp and not the Minor League one. Injuries and various shuffling of players was one reason.
The other reason is that the A’s wanted to see what they have in Murphy. He delivered big time. He went 4.1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. San Francisco Chronicle’s A’s beat writer Susan Slusser mentioned that Murphy didn’t know he was starting until he saw the lineup card that day. She said he told her how excited he was after his start. A scout also told her that “he has a chance to be pretty good” due to his sinker.
The A’s tend to miss on starting pitchers in the draft. They certainly have had some success and of course scouting and drafting are not an exact science. If Murphy pans out though this could turn into a huge success story. A 33rd round draft pick from a small school in Pennsylvania producing at the Major League level. He still has a long path to Oakland having never pitched above Double-A Midland, but he will be an interesting player to keep an eye on. Was Monday’s game just a fluke? Or can he have sustained and continued success? Watch out for Sean Murphy. He may be on the rise.