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Originally selected out of Wright State University in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Oakland Athletics catching prospect Sean Murphy reached Double-A Midland in the Texas League in 2017, splitting time between there and High-A Stockton of the California League and slashing .250/.313/.410/.723 in 356 combined at-bats over 98 games. In that span between both full-season leagues (Murphy’s first crack at the full-season grind), the 6’3”, 215-lb. catcher hit 18 doubles and 13 home runs, while walking 32 times and suffering 67 strikeouts.

After the year, the Oakland Athletics sent the 23-year-old (DOB: October 10, 1994) catcher to the Arizona Fall League to play for the Mesa Solar Sox, and it’s there that Baseball Census saw Sean Murphy play multiple times, showing off his good defensive skills behind the plate and an exceptionally strong arm. Below, you’ll find our full Sean Murphy scouting report, including game video, tool grades, and projection notes.

Sean Murphy Scouting Report, Oakland Athletics — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Hit (50)
Slightly open at stance; well balanced with small stride and compact stroke through swing. Short to it, long through it with good extension and some feel for lifting the ball. Aggressive hitter; will hack early if he sees what he likes, regardless of situation. Will get tied up at points on inner half and up in zone with hands that can leak up and behind head; particularly susceptible there to fastballs up and in at times. Tracks the ball well with some feel for the strike zone, though; ultimately, above-average contact skills, especially for a catcher, and will become a serviceable hitter with growth.

Power (50)
Big, strong frame with a little bit of room left to grow into his body; broad shoulders with a strong lower half, the combination of which help produce natural leverage for pop. Great extension through swing plane with lift; some feel already for manipulating the barrel for power. Above-average bat speed with quick-twitch muscles and impressive ability to uncoil on the ball. Swings to do damage. Power may prove one of his best assets if he can actualize it in game situations moving forward just as he did in Stockton this year (eleven doubles, nine home runs in 45 games).

Glove (55)
Tall catcher with some form/mechanical issues framing and reaching pitches down at the bottom of the zone like you might expect, but overall a very good feel for the position with legitimate skills. Situational awareness behind the plate with good anticipation; calm and collected leader who deals well with pitchers. Moves surprisingly well side to side to block considering his size and height. Exceptional hand-eye coordination to pick balls in dirt and make reads on wipeout pitches with runners on base. Appears to be that rare tall catcher who’s defensively solid with some projection for big league success. Murphy now is a best-case scenario of what Texas Rangers catching prospect Sam Huff could look like in another few years (read a bit more on Huff here).

Arm (60)
Big, long, lanky body with long arms make Murphy’s throwing mechanics look less smooth and synthesized than they really are; objectively had one of the best throwing arms at AFL this fall even with some awkward movements. Consistent 1.89 – 1.96 pop times to second base with accuracy and serious carry to the bag, even from his knees. Must continue to fight urge to get long through throws considering lean/tall frame, but his arm strength is the real deal, and it’ll forever be one of his best attributes behind the plate.

Speed (25)
Not surprisingly a poor runner; caught him north of 4.55 from home to first, but irrelevant in his present role as a catcher with over-the-fence pop. Some gangly, awkward, and flat-footed movements in stride. Unathletic runner, but far more athletic movements when working behind plate and showing off hand-eye coordination.

Late bloomer who has moved very quickly after just one full season in pro ball. Legitimate shot to move forward as an everyday big league catcher with a plus arm if his bat proves advanced enough to continue to adjust in upper minors. Safe bet to find some value as a backup/platoon option at worst over the next few years with time on his side. Good defensive backstop, especially as far as tall catchers go, and there’s no reason he couldn’t stick at the position long term. Continued power will push him higher, faster.

Sean Murphy Scouting Report, Oakland Athletics — 2017 Game Video

Sean Murphy Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis & Projection

Somewhat flat footed with long, lanky limbs and a tall build, Sean Murphy doesn’t really look like the stereotypical stocky, athletic catcher you might expect to see on a prospect list this winter. And yet he gets it done behind the plate for the Oakland Athletics, having moved quickly to Double-A and then acquitting himself well as a defensive standout at the Arizona Fall League last month with Mesa. Just 121 games into his professional career, Murphy’s bat is still somewhat untested, though. It’s undoubtedly solid enough to help him stick at least in a bench/platoon role, but if his power profile is for real like Stockton suggested, he’ll push his way past that projection and fight for an everyday gig at ceiling with an impressive ability to hit the ball in the air with authority.

A good find for the Oakland Athletics out of Wright State, Sean Murphy might start 2018 back in Double-A Midland, where he’ll need to adjust after a tough time down the stretch there this past summer, but his polish and tools should have him in Triple-A Nashville by the end of 2018. Expect him to be in the thick of a conversation for a big league role of some sort in 2019.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Average everyday regular at ceiling with good glove, great arm, power profile at the plate; platoon/bench floor with sneaky pop in bat if tools fall short (50)

MLB ETA: 2019

Did you like this Sean Murphy scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Oakland Athletics RHP Norge Ruiz — CLICK HERE

Oakland Athletics 3B Mikey White — CLICK HERE

Oakland Athletics OF Skye Bolt — CLICK HERE

Kansas City Royals OF Elier Hernandez — CLICK HERE

Chicago White Sox 2B Danny Mendick — CLICK HERE


More from our Sean Murphy scouting report and other Oakland Athletics prospects:

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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