Sunday: The A’s have confirmed Murphy’s promotion.
Saturday: With the end of August ushering in the expansion of MLB rosters, the Athletics are set to promote catcher Sean Murphy to make his Major League debut when the calendar turns to September, per Martin Gallegos of MLB.com.
Murphy, 24, is regarded as the Athletics’ best position-player prospect and is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 44 overall prospect in baseball. A 2016 third-round draft selection, Murphy has caught scouts’ attention with his refined defensive game behind the plate, drawing rave reviews for his arm strength to go along with developing game-calling, blocking, and receiving. His defensive-minded profile means that he has all the makings of a solid MLB regular, even if he never actualizes his full offensive potential.
That’s not to say that there isn’t some offensive talent here, though. Spending the 2019 season at Triple-A, Murphy has enjoyed the best offensive season of his career. With a .293/.384/.580 batting line, Murphy has posted a 135 wRC+ this season—meaning that he grades out 35% better than average—an impressive mark even when considering the boosted offensive environment in Triple-A. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs project Murphy to be “a high-contact bat with doubles power” as a Major Leaguer, no doubt an acceptable profile by catcher standards.
In Oakland, Murphy will join the current combination of Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann behind the plate, the only other catchers on the 40-man roster. On the whole, that duo has provided lackluster offensive production from the catcher position, so Murphy could step into semi-regular playing time in his first taste of the big leagues. With the A’s promoting another highly-regarded prospect, Murphy could represent a sort of late-season reinforcement for a team in position to return to the postseason. Having recently promoted top prospect A.J. Puk and in position to welcome back Sean Manaea, Oakland looks to have strengthened its roster for the season’s final month without having to make any transactions.