Thursday, May 7, 2015
JOHN RYAN MURPHY: THE RIGHT CHOICE
One of the big spring training battles this past March was the competition between John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine for the backup catching position. Austin Romine was out of minor league options and if he didn't win a spot on the 25-man roster he would have been waived and the Yankees could have lost control of their 2007 second round pick. Well, John Ryan Murphy was awarded the job and Romine was waived. He cleared waivers though and was out righted to Triple-A Scranton and that's where he sits today.
Thought to be the better prospect, Romine has never made it to the next level as expected. He moved up to Triple-A in 2011 and hasn't been able to make the next step and stay with the big club. Meanwhile, Murphy made it to The Bronx in 2013, appeared in 30 games in 2014 and has been the backup this season and has performed well in limited action.
Murphy has never been an offensive powerhouse with the Yankees but does well behind the plate and has hit enough. He has a career .254 average over 126 at-bats. This season, in just 22 at-bats, Murphy has hit three doubles, scored four runs and added an RBI to go with a .227 average. While the sample size is small, it's enough to get the job done as the second catcher.
Murphy has also performed well behind the plate. His catching ERA is 3.34 compared to Brian McCann's 3.14. Murphy has thrown out three out of eight attempted base stealers for a .375 caught stealing percentage, respectable numbers for a big league catcher.
Meanwhile in the minors, Romine is not having much luck. He is hitting just .183 with one home run and eight RBI over 67 at-bats. On top of the offensive struggles, he has only thrown out three out of 14 base stealers for a .180 caught stealing percentage. It just seems like Romine's opportunity may have come and gone.
While it doesn't matter to me which one of the two is the backup, what matters is which one is more productive. The Yankees had a decision to make and obviously liked what Murphy had to offer more, especially with the risk of losing Romine on waivers.
It has worked out so far and Murphy is being all that is needed out of a backup catcher, while Romine still has some work to do in order to make the next jump, or even keep his job within the organization. Catchers are hard to come by but Romine has been with the team for eight seasons so it might be now or never.
We, as Yankees fans, should be rooting for both to succeed and contribute to the organization either in the Bronx or helping younger pitchers develop. Murphy has earned it and hopefully will be in pinstripes for years to come. I'm hoping so!
Well done Mr. Murphy!
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