Rockies Year In Review: Tom Murphy


Tom Murphy is one of the few Rockies who made his major league debut this past season. It happened in August, so we haven’t gotten a very long look at what he can do in the show. His Rockies career so far has consisted of 11 games, and Fangraphs is still calling him “Tommy” in their player-search bar, so there’s that too.

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So what do we know about Murphy from his very short stint this season? Well, he might not have debuted at all if both Nick Hundley and Michael McKenry hadn’t gone down with injuries late in the summer. The unfortunate timing necessitated both Murphy and Dustin Garneau‘s quick call-ups, and they remained with the team for the rest of the year. They mostly traded starts at catcher from there, with occasional help from Wilin Rosario.

Although we’re working with a very small sample size, I think we can conclude that Coors Field agrees with Murphy’s bat, as it only took him six games there to hit three home runs. He didn’t hit any more after that, but he routinely slugged around .500 in the minors, which is Carlos Gonzalez/Corey Dickerson territory. The question will be whether he can continue that now that he is facing major league pitchers. Another thing he did well is manage not to pass any balls, which is a relief given what we’ve dealt with when Rosario has been behind the plate. Offensively, he finished the season with a .257/.333/.543 line.

There’s not much else to say about Murphy’s performance in 2015, so let’s turn to his outlook for 2016. With Rosario and McKenry both free agents, the Rockies are in need of at least one back-up that they can retain throughout the season. Murphy will likely compete for that job in spring training. He will have a few things to work on if he wants to seal the deal.

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For starters, he struck out once every 3.5 plate appearances. That’s not Drew Stubbs bad, but it’s not great either. Pitchers tend to strike out about that often. The league average is 4.3 plate appearances. He also didn’t throw out many baserunners from behind the dish. His caught stealing average is 13%, and the league average is 28%. Again, Murphy needs a lot more time in the majors before we can draw conclusions about his overall performance. But these are a couple of things he might want to polish before he tries out in March.

Overall Grade: B-