Top 50 Prospect Profile: Bill Murphy

Top 50 Prospect Profile: Bill Murphy

<p>The new year is here, and the <b>FutureBacks.com Top 50</b> is rolling&nbsp; The Top 50 features profiles, commentary, and analysis from the FutureBacks.com staff, Diamondbacks coaches and officials, as well as Scout.com experts.&nbsp; The best left handed pitcher in the Diamondback system?&nbsp; Some think the answer to that question is <b>Bill Murphy</b>.

Vital Statistics:

Name Bill Murphy
Age 23
Position Pitcher
Height 6'0"
Weight 190 
Bats Left
Throws Left
'04 Club Double-A Carolina Mudcats (Southern League), Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League)

The principal in the deal that sent Steve Finley to the Dodgers, this left hander is as hot a prospect as there is.  Coming out of the Oakland organization (3rd round, 2002) Murphy was highly touted, and considered a jewel in the Marlins system after he was moved there in late 2003.  The Diamondbacks wanted him so bad they forced the Dodgers to trade for him, simply so they could ship him to Arizona for Finley.  He's impressed everywhere he's gone, and drawn attention for both his game on the field, and his habit of writing in the dirt on his way off it.

Past and Future:  Oakland liked him, but moved him to the Marlins in the Mark Redman deal.  The Marlins liked him, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to get Paul LoDuca from the Dodgers, and the Dodgers liked him because of what he got them, namely Steve Finley.  He made his first splash in 2002 while pitching for the Lo-A Kane County Cougars and threw a no hitter, and has been bothered only by his penchant for walks.  He averages nearly six walks per nine innings and that has to change before he can be effective at the next level.

Bill Murphy W-L ERA K/BB Innings Pitched
Double-A Carolina Mudcats (Southern League Marlins affiliate) 6-4 4.08 113/59 103.2
Double-A El Paso Diablos (Texas League) 3-3 6.68 24/17 31.0

Pitches:  Murphy has a fastball in the low 90s, and a changeup that is mandatory for every pitcher who gets into Oakland's system, but the jewel of Murphy's repertoire is a big sweeping curveball.  It's his best pitch and Murphy likes it a little too much sometimes, accounting for his high walk totals.  The Marlins were trying to convince him to throw his fastball and change more often early in the count, and the Diamondbacks have attempted to do the same.  The fastball has a cutting motion to it, and the changeup has great arm action, so it's a wonder he hasn't found a way to use those pitches more effectively, but at 23 years old, heading into fourth minor league season, history shows this is the year he figures everything out.

ETA:  Murphy is going to get his shot sooner than later.  His confidence has never been a problem, he pitched in the 2004 Futures Game, walking one and striking out two during his one inning of work, and some seem to think he's got an attitude problem.  Never has his work ethic been questioned though, and when he finds the strike zone early in the count, that curveball is virtually unhittable, starting at the neck or higher, breaking into the dirt when its on.  His ascension to the majors is completely in his own hands.  A good first half at Double-A Tennessee could land him a spot start, or maybe some bullpen action, right after the All-Star Break in 2005.

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