Finally Healthy, Patrick Murphy Shows Promise In 2017
Righthander Patrick Murphy’s career has been an exercise in patience. The 2013 third-round pick logged a career-high 106.2 innings in 2017 after myriad injuries slowed his ascent. Tommy John surgery wiped out Murphy's senior year of high school in Chandler, Ariz., and he then endured a string of surgeries during his first three pro seasons. The litany of injuries that nearly stopped his career before it started includes a stress fracture in his arm, thoracic outlet surgery and an operation to move a nerve in his elbow.
But the 22-year-old’s perseverance started being rewarded over the past two seasons, when he returned the mound and showed some of the promise that prompted the Blue Jays to invest $500,000 in him out of the draft.
Where his progress leads him in 2018 is an interesting question, one that makes him a player to keep an eye on.
"It was a long three, four years,” Murphy said. "We weren’t sure we were going to figure out what necessarily it was and get it taken care of. Finally, after a few surgeries, we got it taken care of and ever since it’s been good. I’m happy with the way everything worked out. It was long, it was tough, but I stuck with it. I trusted them and it worked out.
"We’ve moved on past that, we’re trying to go forward and reach Toronto."
Murphy finished the 2017 season with two starts at high Class A Dunedin after recording a 2.94 ERA in 15 starts at low Class A Lansing. A hamstring injury cost him about seven weeks near midseason, but he added 10 innings during instructional league, positioning him for a fuller workload next season.
A continued point of emphasis for Murphy will be working on a changeup that will give him a third offering to play off his low- to mid-90s fastball and power curveball that he describes as "my go-to ahead in the count.”
The changeup is "obviously still a work in progress,” but he feels learning to trust it and use it more often last season was his biggest stride on the mound.
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The 20-year-old righthander more than held his own against a lineup stacked with all-stars in spring training.
"All I can ask is that I stay healthy after missing so much time," Murphy said.