Oakland A’s: The hits will come for Sean Murphy

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum on July 24, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Angels 7-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum on July 24, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Angels 7-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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Sean Murphy has not had the desired results at the plate so far this season. Those hits are due to come.

It is easy to look at Sean Murphy and be disappointed this season. Billed as an excellent defensive catcher with a strong bat, the results simply have not been there on either side of the ball thus far.

While it is known that offense develops later for catchers, the A’s had to hope that Murphy would have been more productive thus far. In his 44 plate appearances heading into Friday, he had produced a mediocre .194/.341/.278 batting line, with a home run as his only extra base hit on the year. There have been some positives, as Murphy has drawn eight walks, but he has also struck out 13 times.

Murphy’s batted ball profile has been interesting as well. He has put the ball in the air more frequently, but has a line drive rate of just 17%. He also has a batting average on balls in play of just .273, matching his mark from his brief trial last year, but also below league average.

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Those numbers do not exactly line up with what is happening when Murphy’s bat meets the ball. He has a 60.9% hard contact rate, in the top 1% in Major League Baseball. Likewise, his 92.9 MPH exit velocity is in the top 6% of the game. However, Murphy has barreled the ball just 8.7% of the time, barely above league average

The metrics indicate that Murphy should have a .221/.335/.382 batting line. Those numbers are definitely better than what he has produced thus far in 2020, and while they are not stellar, would be palatable. No one was expecting Murphy to set the world afire with his bat just yet, but he was expected to be useful at the plate.

And that is coming. Murphy is hitting the ball hard, but those balls being put into play are not finding the holes. It has not detracted from his patience at the plate either, as he is making sure he gets the right pitch to swing at. When he does, that ball is getting smoked.

Next. The Sean Manaea problem. dark

Eventually, these well-struck balls will fall in for hits for Sean Murphy. In his case, the raw numbers do not tell the entire story.

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