The Oakland A’s need Sean Murphy to take the next step in 2021. Fortunately for them, he seems ready to do so.
The Oakland A’s have several pieces in place for their lineup in 2021. Should Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Ramon Laureano all perform to their potential, the A’s should have a formidable middle of their lineup. However, they will need another player to step up and help shoulder the load.
Sean Murphy may be that player. The A’s catcher had a solid rookie campaign, producing a .233/.364/.457 batting line in his 140 plate appearances, hitting seven homers and five doubles. His 131 OPS+ led the A’s as he showed the potential to be a key part of their future.
As respectable as that rookie campaign had been, Murphy truly took off over the final month of the season. He produced a .277/.424/.638 batting line in his 59 plate appearances, hitting five of his home runs in that time frame.
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Murphy’s batted ball profile shows that his strong finish to the year was not a fluke. He ranked in the 91st percentile in both hard hit rate and exit velocity, with the ball leaving his bat at an average of 92.2 MPH. His 17.1% walk rate was truly elite, ranking in the 97th percentile. When Murphy did swing, he made excellent contact, with a 49.4% hard hit rate and a 12.7% barrel percentage.
Those metrics would seemingly indicate that even better days are ahead for the A’s catcher. His slow foot speed will likely be a hindrance to his batting average on balls in play, but his .278 BAbip was still reasonably solid. If he becomes more aggressive at the plate in the strike zone, Murphy could be a star in the making.
His star could be rising as soon as 2021. Murphy already made an impression during his brief major league career, finishing fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year and being named as a candidate for the All MLB Team at catcher. Just imagine what he could do over a full season now that he has his feet under him in the majors.
Sean Murphy has the potential to be a star. His development in 2021 will be a key part of the Oakland A’s success.