We will begin our 2019 Player Review series with a guy that logged exactly one plate appearance for the Atlanta Braves. The Braves acquired John Ryan Murphy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations at the trade deadline in hopes that he would add some additional organizational depth at the catchers position.
What were the expectations?
Murphy was generally expected to be a third- or fourth-string catcher, essentially replacement-level. He’s framed pretty well in the past, but hasn’t hit at all. Playing in parts of six major league seasons coming into 2019, the 28-year-old wasn’t exactly an enigma, though he’s struggled to garner consistent playing time.
What went right in 2019?
Murphy began the season with the Diamondbacks where he appeared in 25 games with 69 plate appearances. He was dealt to Atlanta at the deadline and was promoted to the majors on September 17 but appeared in just one game.
What went wrong in 2019?
Murphy is regarded as a good defensive catcher but has struggled at the plate. He hit just .177/.250/.419 with four home runs in 69 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks and was 0-for-1 in his only plate appearance for the Braves. He appeared in 14 games for Gwinnett hitting .170/.220/.234 with one homer in 47 at-bats.
What to expect in 2020?
Murphy is arbitration-eligible this offseason but is a candidate to be outrighted off the 40-man roster. He has 259 games of experience in the majors, so the best case scenario for him seems to be latching on with a minor league deal in hopes of going to Spring Training. A team low on major league-ready catching depth is probably his best bet to make the majors for more than one PA in 2020.