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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tanner Murphy: Trying to Catch on with the Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles may appear to be set at catcher for the foreseeable future with Matt Wieters behind the plate, but in baseball it’s never a good idea to plan too far ahead. Like any smart team, Baltimore continues to cultivate catching prospects, with Tanner Murphy being one of the young players they are most excited about.

The left-handed hitting Murphy was a prep star with Mount Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona, posting a .370 batting average with 26 RBI as a senior. The Orioles chose him in the 22nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft, signed him and sent him to the Gulf Coast League to begin his professional career.

Unfortunately, three years into his career, Murphy hasn’t taken off as quickly as hoped. He has been slowed by injuries, particularly a major elbow surgery in 2011 on his throwing arm. Because of these setbacks, he has appeared in only a total of 56 professional games during his first three seasons; all spent in the Gulf Coast League. During that time, he has combined for a .201 batting average and 17 RBI.

Still just 20, Murphy needs consistent playing time to see where he is in his development and continue to grow. If he is healthy this season, it could be a pivotal year for the prospect, as he seeks to prove he belongs and that he has been worth Baltimore’s patience. He will likely start this season in the low minors, but if he plays well, there’s no telling how where he could end up by the end of the year.

Last year, I was able to connect with Murphy and ask him some questions about his baseball career. It’s obvious he is committed to the game and following through on his goal of playing in the major leagues. Check out what he had to say and make sure to keep track of him once his 2013 season is underway.

Tanner Murphy Interview:

Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up my favorite player was Ken Griffey Jr. because he was amazing to watch at anything he did in the game.

Can you describe what your draft day experience was like?: Draft day was amazing. I will not ever forget that day. I remember being around my family and they were so happy. I wouldn’t have traded that feeling for anything!

How many teams were in contact with you during your high school career?: From what I knew I talked to two, but other teams I heard from was around five or something in that range.

Have you noticed or been informed of any organizational differences since Dan Duquette was named the Orioles new GM?: Yes, many things are changing for the better! Whatever happens though will not affect how hard I work and try to improve.

How difficult is it for a minor league player to keep moving forward and persevere through all the competition and adversity?: Very difficult! But as in anything, it’s only as difficult as you make it, so for me I’m willing and going to work hard and improve and repeat day in and day out to get to the next level.

If you could do anything differently about your baseball career to date, what would that be?: Nothing, really. Everything happens for a reason. There’s things that happen I think are a bummer, but in this game you have to have a short memory and move on. 

What have your experiences been like in during your time in the Gulf Coast League?: It’s a grind  and it’s the hardest place to play by far. It is early days and hot and sticky. It’s great though being able to have all the facility-wise things available.

Have you had any experiences yet with Cal Ripken?: No I haven’t yet, but I would love the opportunity. 


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