Self scouting report: Blue Jays' Patrick Murphy

April 7th, 2020

Patrick Murphy was looking forward to working out the kinks.

After the 24-year-old right-hander was forced to alter his delivery last season -- when the toe tap he used was deemed to be against the rules -- Murphy’s year came to an end without the resurgence he was looking for. Following an offseason of working out the details, the Blue Jays’ No. 19 prospect was excited to get the 2020 season started before its indefinite postponement.

“I’m excited to get that ironed out, put that behind me, so I can stop going over it with people and hearing about it, and then just try and take off,” Murphy said before Spring Training. “Last year didn’t go as planned because of all that, but this year if I can sort that out and get it taken care of early, then I can just go out there and perform.”

Murphy made 18 starts with Double-A New Hampshire in 2019 and posted a 4.71 ERA over 84 innings, walking 27 and striking out 86. The up-and-down year followed a season in which Toronto’s 2013 third-round Draft pick made 26 starts for the Fisher Cats and posted a 2.64 ERA over 146 2/3 frames with 135 strikeouts. When Murphy returns to the mound, he’s hoping to find similar success and continue to move forward.

“At some point, debuting is the goal,” the 6-foot-5, 235-pound hurler said of the season ahead. “Sooner rather than later would be preferred, but you’ve got to control what you can control. I just have to go out there and pitch, and when they feel I’m ready, come up [to Toronto] and help the boys win.”

Evaluating himself using a Major League Scouting Bureau report and the 20-to-80 scouting scale, basing his grades on the standards set by the Bureau, Murphy offered insight into what the future might hold.

Top tools
The Arizona native gave himself the highest future grades in his fastball and curveball, offering a well-above-average present evaluation of his fastball, based on velocity, and an above-average evaluation of his breaking ball, with a half-grade improvement on the future of his curveball.

“My curveball has always been my favorite pitch, since growing up,” Murphy said. “I learned it at a young age, 11 or 12, and it’s always been reliable and always there for me. My fastball, the velo has started to [increase] since I’ve been healthy. I always had some velo, but it’s picked up as I’ve gotten older, gotten stronger, I’ve gotten better in my body positioning and I’ve gotten in better shape. Obviously both can still improve with command and control.”

Room to improve
Offering modest improvements in his evaluations from present to future, Murphy jumped his changeup one grade, from below average to average, believing that his third pitch is where he can take the biggest strides.

“I want to further progress my changeup to catch up to my other two pitches,” he said. “I need to continue building my comfort and trust with that pitch. I started throwing it two years ago, and it wasn’t really a pitch that I liked throwing, was comfortable throwing, so I’m still progressing that, getting more reps throwing it, finding the proper grip that works for me. Obviously you’re always tweaking things, but just to take a little more velo off of my fastball it will help me out, and I want to try to get more fade on the changeup.”

Scouting the scout
Offering insight into his own game and grades, the pitcher didn’t bring any experience in grading and scouting to the table when he filled out the evaluation, having never seen a scouting report on himself before.

What the scouts say
“He has a big league stud body, and is a long-arm slinger with no windup,” one American League evaluator said. “It’s tough to get past his well-below-average arm action and below-average delivery. He has a power arm, but it’s hittable. His curveball is a special out pitch though. His change is not much of a factor. He has a thick injury dossier that could be scary going forward. He’s a guy who could end up in the ‘pen. I thought his fastball was too true, and he threw a lot of center-cut stuff, but he was kind of pitching below his stuff, and it will all depend on whether he can stay healthy.”

What’s missing
“Obviously this is focused on characteristics on the mound, but it doesn’t tell you about being in the clubhouse, being able to gel with the guys, getting along with everybody, picking people up when I need to,” Murphy said of what the scouting report doesn’t say about him as a player. “Also, being aggressive on the mound no matter the situation, knowing the game and what’s going on, things like that.”