YANKEES PROMOTE THUNDER CATCHER JR MURPHY TO SCRANTON
Added by Matt Kardos on June 13, 2013.
The New York Yankees promoted Trenton Thunder catcher JR Murphy to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre last night. Moments after the Thunder dropped their second straight ball game to the Binghamton Mets, 6-1, to fall to seven games behind them in the Eastern Division, a noticeably unhappy Manager Tony Franklin called for a closed door team meeting for what he called “issues that he needed to discuss,” with his ball club.
After roughly ten minutes of chatter, Franklin emerged from the clubhouse and strolled down the hall into the office of pitching coach Tommy Phelps, where Murphy soon followed. About five minutes went by before the door opened and a glowing Murphy emerged into the hallway, shaking hands with various members of the Thunder training and coaching staff, a tell tale sign that a promotion could be on the horizon.
In his nightly post-game session with the media, when asked about the unusual exchange with Murphy, Franklin said, “”Murphy is out of here. He is gone to Scranton tomorrow. A lot of people think that he is a pretty good player and it is time for him to move up.”
Yankees have promoted Thunder catcher JR Murphy to Triple-A
As for the timing of the promotion, Murphy like most of the people surrounding the team certainly were taken by surprise. “I would say that I wasnt expecting it. It was the last thing I was expecting once we got out of that meeting,” admitted Murphy. “They didn’t really tell me anything specifically except that they were proud of me and that I have made a lot of good strides. They think that I deserve it.”
In his second season with the Thunder, Murphy was hitting .268 with six home runs and 25 RBI through 49 games. Many scouts have always thought Murphy had a quality bat but questioned his ability to stick at the position because of his defense. With that in mind, Murphy has spent the majority of his professional career working on improving his defensive shortcomings behind the plate in hopes that he could become an all-around solid catcher.
Beginning late last season and carrying over into early spring training in 2013, the improvement of Murphy’s ability to call a game and uncanny ability to throw out runners on the base paths has boosted his stock dramatically within the organization. While the Yankees allowed Russell Martin to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates this past off season while failing to add an impact player at the position to replace him, Murphy continued to fine tune his defensive approach in hopes that his standing in the organization would continue to grow.
When asked where he believes he has grown the most as a player to garner this promotion, Murphy said, “Defensively on the catching. That has been my goal since day one. When I signed it was a goal and I have come a long way since then. I think I have even come a long way since spring training this year.”
While playing for the Thunder on a rehab assignment nearly two weeks ago, Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis offered high praise for the 22-year old when he was asked which Thunder player had caught his attention.
“The big one for me is JR behind the plate,” Youkilis said. “With how well he hits and how well he can play defense behind the dish he is going to make it pretty far because he has a pretty good bat. I saw him in spring training a little bit and I liked him a lot.”
Murphy has worked hard on improving his defense behind the plate.
The promotion of Murphy to the Rail Riders; where there was an opening for an everyday backstop, opens the door for Yankees number three overall ranked prospect as ranked by Baseball America, Gary Sanchez, to be promoted to Trenton. Franklin said that catcher Jeff Farnham would join the team on Thursday from Scranton to assume the catching responsibilities. Sanchez is currently hitting .276 with 10 long balls and 44 RBI in 55 games played for Single-A Tampa. Sanchez is slated to play in the Florida State League All-Star game on Friday night at which point a promotion to Trenton could follow shortly thereafter.
As a quiet leader in the clubhouse and a professional both on and off of the field, Franklin had nothing but high regard to offer when speaking of his catchers departure.
“He played well while he was here and I think that his future is pretty bright and his best days are certainly ahead of him.”