Sean Murphy – the best catcher in the AL West

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics catches during the game against the Chicago White Sox at RingCentral Coliseum on September 30, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics catches during the game against the Chicago White Sox at RingCentral Coliseum on September 30, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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While the AL West should be a competitive division, it is not exactly a hotbed of talent behind the plate. For the most part, the division has a collection of backup catchers or question marks holding down the fort. Then there are the Oakland A’s and Sean Murphy.

Despite the intrigue for the other teams in the division, the A’s feel that they have the top catching option. Murphy had been viewed as a potential future star behind the plate, one of the top catcher prospects in the game. Not only was he expected to be a strong performer with the bat, but he was considered to be a future Gold Glove winner as well.

Sean Murphy showed that potential in 2020

After a slow start to his rookie season, Murphy showed the potential that made the A’s think he could be a future star. He posted a solid .233/.364/.457 batting line in his 140 plate appearances, hitting seven homers and five doubles. Murphy hit the ball hard all season, and actually should have had a better batting line than he ended up with.

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While his defense did not quite meet the same lofty expectations, Murphy showed promise behind the plate. He threw out 29% of would be basestealers while saving a run behind the plate, respectable numbers for someone learning the pitching staff and major league hitters. Those hopes that he can be a Gold Glove winner remain in place.

That does not mean that he is without questions. His durability is in question as Murphy battled injury concerns in the minors. He was healthy throughout the 2020 campaign, but a 60 game season is not nearly the same as the 162 game marathon that a major league season typically would entail.

Even with those questions, Murphy is the closest that any team in the division has to a given behind the plate. He is already the top catcher in the division, and his upside makes it possible that he will only improve his status as the 2021 campaign goes on.

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Sean Murphy is already the best catcher in the American League West. Considering the state of the rest of the division, the Oakland A’s catcher did not have much competition.

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