Sean Murphy is primed to end A’s catching issues
The Oakland Athletics have had an endless stream of catchers since trading Kurt Suzuki to the Washington Nationals in 2012. Sean Murphy is ready to end the trend and provide stability to a young rotation.
The Oakland Athletics have seemingly shuttled through catchers for the last eight years since they had Kurt Suzuki hold the position as an everyday starter for five seasons. With the arrival of Sean Murphy the team now has a long-term plan behind the plate.
Murphy was called up on Sept. 1st, 2019 when the rosters expanded and he showed all the potential that he put on display in the minor leagues. Murphy slashed a line of .245/.333/.556, and came out of the gates scorching hot showing his power to all directions of the field.
Known for his defense when first making his way into the minors, Murphy developed quite the bat in his rise through the system and became one of the top catching prospects in the pipelines. Possessing an absolute cannon behind the plate, Murphy made players stealing think twice, which Adalberto Mondesi – who stole 43 out of 50 bases last year – can attest too.
Through the years we have seen the A’s go through Derek Norris, Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley, Bruce Maxwell, Jonathan Lucroy, Nick Hundley, Chris Herrmann and Beau Taylor behind the dish. This route seemed to be trying to tape a leak in a boat and hoping it holds up.
With a sense of direction, it not only gives Oakland another capable bat in the lineup, but it also gives the pitching staff a guy they can become familiar with calling games. When you shuttle catcher-to-catcher, pitchers can have their timing and rhythm thrown off, with no clarity.
Coming up through the minor leagues will also help as Murphy has caught guys like Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Sean Manaea, Grant Holmes and James Kaprielian who slot in to possibly be the starting rotation of this franchise within the next few years. That familiarity will pay off and Murphy can catch a majority of their games possibly getting rest days to get a left-handed bat into the lineup.
Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt each had a good season trickled in between the rotation of catchers. But you have to go back to Jason Kendall that had the ability to be above average on offense and defense, as even Suzuki was known more for his bat, Murphy has the ability to change that going forward quickly.
Murphy put together four home runs in his first 18 at-bats over seven games, highlighted by this ball that was absolutely crushed here vs the Houston Astros. He sprays the ball all over the field and has defenses not able to gauge him because of that ability.
Platooning has been a major difference-maker for the A’s over the years, but finding an everyday player behind the plate upgrades this team significantly. Murphy displayed enough in his short time to make the Postseason roster where he started and got an at-bat vs the Tampa Bay Rays before being lifted for the pitching matchup.
Going forward as he gets more experience he should stay in the lineup and play the full game, every game he is in, as his bat has so much potential and his defense is gold glove caliber. Taking him out of the game in any situation should be seen as a downgrade and Bob Melvin should know better.
The future is exciting and we’re getting close to watching Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk become dominant pitchers with Murphy calling games. It’s going to be a fun future for the A’s and fans should already be looking towards 2020.