Major league teams are always looking for the next great young catcher. The Oakland A’s may have that in Sean Murphy.
Every major league team lives by two beliefs – that one can never have enough pitching and that talented young catchers are worth their weight in gold. Teams can spend decades looking for the next great young catcher, cycling through backstops with the hope of finding that centerpiece for the next decade.
The A’s were in that same situation for years, essentially since the days of Kurt Suzuki. Oakland has had just two catchers in the All Star Game since 1994 – Ramon Hernandez and Stephen Vogt. Sean Murphy appears set to change that history.
Murphy was the only player to be unanimously selected to the Baseball Digest All Rookie Team for 2020, a fitting honor for one of the better catchers in the game. He was named as a candidate for the All MLB Team at catcher, one of six players to be so honored.
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Chances are, the accolades will not stop there. Murphy had been considered to be one of the best all around catching prospects in the game when he was rising through the minors. He had been considered a future Gold Glove winner, possessing an excellent glove behind the plate and a strong arm.
Murphy is likely to have several All Star appearances in his future as well. He showed his potential last season, producing a respectable .233/.364/.457 batting line with seven homers and five doubles in his 140 plate appearances. Those numbers were even better if one ignores the first quarter of the season, where Murphy was unable to find any luck with the batted ball.
That does not detract from what Murphy did in 2020. He served notice that those lofty reports as he was climbing the ranks, and his stature as one of the top catching prospects in the game, were deserved.
Sean Murphy had an excellent start to his major league career. With another strong season in 2021, he could solidify himself as the major’s next great young catcher.