Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rockies Prospects: Tom Murphy and Shane Broyles

Tom Murphy was a 3rd round pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2012. The 21 year old catcher (from Buffalo University, signed for $454,000) spent the year in the Northwest League, where he had a 129 wRC +, 113 wOBA +, and 134 OPS + and was ranked as the 5th best prospect in the league by Baseball America.

The first thing you notice when you see him is that he is tall. You can really see the size. One wonders if he is actually too big to stick behind the plate. Obviously he isn't much of a runner, being a catcher. Murphy seems to have a pretty solid arm, with plenty of strength and accuracy that is workable at this moment. He didn't show the blocking skills you would expect from a good catching prospect. He had general receiving problems that make you question whether or not he sticks behind the plate.
At the plate, he doesn't have the best swing ever to put it mildly. He had a couple of ugly looking swings even against left-handed pitching. He looks like he has good plate discipline (even though he walked just 6 % of the time) though and there is clearly a little power in his bat. He can go the other way with some authority.
A lot of his value will be tied up in whether or not he sticks behind the plate. He may be stuck in right-field.

Shane Broyles has about the simplest delivery you will ever see. He does bring his leg up pretty high and his finishing point isn't all that great or consistent though. This seemed to cause some release point problems and him missing glove side.

The velocity looked pretty good, though the fastball can be pretty straight, and he likes to throw it high where it was sometimes too hittable. Broyles will get in trouble without a quality breaking pitch if he does this.

It does look like he can sink it. He also has some tail on a few of them.

His approach is one of a strike thrower, giving up a lot of contact when I saw him.

He doesn't have much feel for his  change. He isn't afraid to throw it, but he couldn't really get it down or have any idea where it was going. When he got it down, it had some nice movement but is not some elite strikeout pitch.

Broyles also has a slider. The command of that was poor, especially early on. After he started working it in more, I got a better look at it. It breaks slightly both horizontally and vertically and will tail away from right-handed hitters. I actually really like the break on it as sometimes it would dive straight into the dirt.

His hard curve isn't overly impressive, but he had pretty good command of that. It breaks straight down and is at least another pitch he can work in.

I am shocked at how good his ground-ball rate was this year after watching him. I could see that perhaps when he controls his slider, he is able to make hitters chase and tap it weakly. Overall I doubt the groundballs and strikeouts keep coming at the rates they did in the NWL in 2012. His K/BB was awesome and he isn't going to walk many batters.
When he has control, you are really looking at 3 pitches that are MLB caliber. He has a delivery and all the measurables (other than he is a couple inches short for a RHP) that lead you to believe that he will gain control of his pitches. Broyles looks like a MLB potential pitcher to me, as look as his fastball isn't too hittable.

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