2009 Draft: Yankees Second Round Pick


JR Murphy

With their second pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, the Yankees selected C J.R. Murphy out of The Pendleton School in Florida.

Scouting Report: A recent convert, Murphy had been an outfielder (and even played some third base in the past) but was able to make the switch because of his athleticism. He has a good, compact swing and covers a huge chunk of the plate. A line drive hitter, Murphy doesn’t project to hit for anything better than average power, but he has tremendous plate discipline and a discernible eye at the plate, so he should be a well-above average on-base guy. Defensively, Murphy is still learning to catch but is a solid receiver presently. He has a strong arm, but still needs to work on his transfer. Committed to Miami but considered signable, you can read more about Murphy at ESPN (subscription req’d).

Here is Murphy’s MLB Scouting Bureau video.

My Take: I like the pick. A lot of people freaked out and were disappointed because they had never heard of him, but Murphy was a legitimate selection at #76 overall. Keith Law rated him as the 88th best draft prospect while Baseball America had him 95th, and there’s really not much of a difference between the 70th best player and the 100th best player. Murphy’s a premium hitter at a premium position, and is athletic enough that it’s easy to envision him improving on defense. There’s a lot to like here.

Photo Credit: IMG Acadamies

Categories : Draft


  1. jsbrendog says:

    stock up on high upside catchers, see which one turns out best and sell the rest off for picthing? a la in 3-5 yrs have a teagrden/ramirez/saltalamachia type surplus and dump one for a bucholz type pitcher?

    • AndrewYF says:

      Trade one of them for a 25 year old pitcher who dominates the minors but can’t keep his head on straight in the majors? Prospect for prospect trades don’t happen often for a reason – teams think their prospects are better than the other teams’.

  2. Blackdragon905 says:

    Sounds like a more athletic (and also at a much better position) Daniel Murphy of the Mets.

  3. Doug says:

    Maybe it’s the 16-year-old in me, but Slade Heathcott is a great porn name.

  4. crawdaddy says:

    I will be disappointed if the Yankees don’t draft some signability guys during rounds 4-10. I’m specifically talking about some pitchers that are still available.

  5. A.D. says:

    The more I read the more I like, that and inherently trusting the Yanks brain trust, given there were other names on the board that would have been more obvious choices to the avg draft follower means the Yanks really wanted this guy.

  6. JohnC says:

    Some good pitchers on the board. Madison Younginer, Sam Dyson, Brody Colvin. ANyone know where Colton Cain is projected to go?

  7. JohnC says:

    Alot of people were disappointed Yanks passed on ss David Renfroe, especially since the Red Sox grabbed him in round 3, but you can never have enough high end catchers in your system.

  8. emac2 says:

    He sounds a lot like Posada to me…other than being an outfielder vs a 2B…. and appears a bit more athetic.

  9. CountryClub says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a guy that has a chance to be a gap hitter with a high OBP.

  10. Reggie C. says:

    BA’s John Manuel just released a First Day Impressions article where he questions the org.’s JR Murphy selection. With Romine, Higashioka, and Weems in the lower minors, and each having received at least $450K apiece, Manuel can’t figure out why would the org would pick yet another catcher.

    Honestly. That was my first impression too, but since Murphy also played the OF its a solid pick given the lack of potential impact bats.

    • crawdaddy says:

      Manuel doesn’t like Slade being picked either so it appears that the Yankees first day choices just don’t appeal to Mr. Manuel.

      • CountryClub says:

        Well, Goldstein liked Slade and his scouting report was good on Murphy. I never saw his opinion of the Yanks taking him though.

  11. Murphy’s a premium hitter at a premium position, and is athletic enough that it’s easy to envision him improving on defense. There’s a lot to like here.

    Yesterday morning, the Yankee farm system’s biggest hole was premium hitters at up the middle premium defensive positions.

    Then we took Heathcott and Murphy.

    (golf clap)

    • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

      Generally speaking, yes. But one of our biggest organizational strengths, in the minors, are the 300,000 catchers we have. So yeah, we’re short on MI, specifically SS, and we’re short on CF, which makes us weak “up the middle” at premium defensive positions, but the exception is the catching position. And we took a catcher. With the 2nd round pick.

      • CountryClub says:

        It’s a fair point but I don’t think you can ever have too many players at one position. You can easily trade from a position of strenght if it ever gets to that point. Just a difference of opinion I guess. I’ve seen plenty others agree with you.

        • jsbrendog says:

          agreed. plus who’s to say any of them, let alone more than 1 of them actually harnesses their abilities and turns into a solid ML’er?

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

            Who’s to say this kid is still a catcher?

            It may have been think like this:

            Hey what’s-your-name, you’re a Yankee now. Go get a haircut and we’ll call your agent.

            -I’m so excited to catch for the Yankees, it’s been a lo–

            Hey, listen, you’re a left fielder now. Go get that haircut.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

          There are two truisms that we hear tossed around in Yankeeland around the time of the draft:

          (1) Don’t draft for position
          (2) Best player available

          OK, so we didn’t draft for position. In fact, you can say we did the exact opposite, drafted in a position that we are already knee-deep in. But we didn’t take the best player available, and we didn’t address any deep organizational dearth. And thats why it pisses me off, because it seems like a low-upside, safe pick that you would see the Indians make. We have the money to take risks, and this seems small-ball to me.

          • Rick in Boston says:

            But the argument with this pick is if the Yankees pick someone who is considered a signability risk and they don’t sign, then what happens? The pick is wasted and they don’t get a re-do next year on it.

            • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

              Yeah, I know. It’ll be best to see what happens today, to get some context on the wider strategy.

        • ColoYank says:

          Agreed, CountryClub. This isn’t the NFL where you draft for position need for a guy who can come in and contribute in a year or two. The “need” in baseball is to stockpile as many high-end guys as you can, regardless of position.

    • CountryClub says:

      I totally agree. Some people have complained for a couple of years that the Yanks draft too many pitchers when they have too few MLB caliber hitters in the minors. They’ve at least tried to address that and it doesnt appear that they’ve reached on either player.

  12. MikeD says:

    For anyone concerned that the Yankees drafted Murphy slightly higher than his rankings by Keith Law or Baseball American, keep in mind that there’s really little difference in the rankings at that level, and more importantly, the Yankees have scouted Murphy far more and more in depth than Law or Baseball America since they’re the ones interested in signing him.

  13. zs190 says:

    I don’t hate this pick but we definitely went a bit cheap on these two picks, I think they were definitely trying to sign decent prospects for slot money and make sure they sign these guys this year and not lose the picks. Heathcott and Murphy will probably sign for slot and it’ll probably be about 2 million total, so we have 5-6 million left to play with and I’m hoping for some big upside guys today.

    • Rick in Boston says:

      I think that the reason they went slot is because they have to sign these players or they get nothing. These are comp picks that can’t roll over into next year, so getting guys with good upside here is worth the pick. Picking Renfroe and then not having him sign would be an awful scenario.

      Now they can can use that extra money and go after the big-money, high-risk guys now.

      • CountryClub says:

        Agreed. The Yanks would have been roasted by most fans if they ended up not signing one of these pics. We still dont know the outcome but it appears that they’re both signable. Still, they’re good players. It’s not like they drafted a bullpen arm or something.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Exactly. Weren’t there reports Renfroe was asking for $2.5MM+ to sign? Given the Yankees complete lack of leverage with their first two picks (and the fact that most all of these kids are mere scouting reports to me at this point), I don’t have any complaints. Signability guys to follow …

      • Picking Renfroe and then not having him sign would be an awful scenario.

        And, with Renfroe’s reputed 3M bonus demands, the fact that he’s highly regarded as a pitcher as well as a shortstop, and the fact that Ole Miss would let him play football and baseball, I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if the Sox can’t sign him either.

    • That may be a factor.

      Keep in mind, also, that we’re heavily linked to several of the premier IFA guys coming up in July, like C Gary Sanchez, who could cost 3M or so. Sanchez has been described as equivalent to a first round draft pick.


      (h/t to RAB commenter Steve S.)

  14. CB says:

    It’s interesting that the guys at BA are always talking about how teams shouldn’t draft for need, should take the best player on their boards and are now complaining about the yankees drafting Murphy because they already have Montero, Romine, Higashioka and Weems.

    Murphy was most likely the top player left on their board. They took him. End of story.

    And some teams have a real accumen for evaluating and drafting a certain position. The yankees, under the current amateur and international scouting regimes, are clearly very good at identifying and evaluating catchers.

    This conversation is only going to heat up more if and when they sign Gary Sanchez for $3M+ during international signings. What!!!! Another catcher!!!!

    Doesn’t matter – they supposedly love Sanchez’s bat and have him graded as a better player than Sano.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

      I’ll accept this as a fair summary of what took place yesterday, and await some bigger, higher-upside moves today.

    • What!!!! Another catcher!!!!


      Bobby Knight: Stu, you’re my friend, take my advice. You should draft Michael Jordan.
      Portland Trailblazers GM Stu Inman: But we need a center.
      Bobby Knight: Then draft Jordan and play him at center.

      … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

    • Chip says:

      They could go and take Madison Younginer and Chris Dwyer in their next two picks and suddenly this draft starts to look really good, you just never know.

      It also wouldn’t shock me to see them pick an outfielder or shortstop out of thin air. Oppenheimer did say that they were going to surprise a lot of people

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      Yankees 1st round pick – Mark Teixeira
      Yankees 2nd round pick – CC Sabathia
      Yankees 3rd round pick – AJ Burnett

      I’m fine with the draft so far.

  15. Jamal G. says:

    I don’t know if it’s just the high on-base ability, not-anything-special power tool or what, but JR Murphy makes me think of the Cardinals’ top catching prospect, Bryan Anderson.

    What do you guys think, fair comparison?

  16. Jamal G. says:

    I don’t know if it’s just the high on-base ability, not-anything-special power tool or what, but J.R. Murphy makes me think of the Cardinals’ top catching prospect, Bryan Anderson.

    What do you guys think, fair comparison?

  17. Jamal G. says:


  18. josh says:

    the chances of guys making the majors is so slim. most scouts dont even feel that montero will be a catcher in the majors anyway. that leaves five young catchers for 2 spots on the team (including cervelli) i like the chances of finding posadas replacement.

  19. Some of the few names on KLaw’s ESPN DraftTracker still available:

    C Luke Bailey
    C Max Stassi
    CF Matt denDekker
    CF Brian Goodwin
    RF/LF Angelo Songco – solid bat, but a TTO guy
    SS Deven Marrero – Eric Hosmer’s old teammate, Natinals slugger prospect Chris’s little brother
    1B Jeff Malm
    RHP Madison Younginer
    RHP Brody Colvin
    RHP Scott Griggs
    RHP Keyvius Sampson
    RHP Jason Stoffel
    RHP Kendal Volz
    LHP Ian Krol
    LHP Brooks Raley
    LHP Chris Dwyer

    I’d say Raley, Younginer, Marrero, and Sampson are the most appealing. Thoughts?

  20. Rachele says:

    I know JR Murphy personally and he is the best thing to ever happen to the yankees. you’ll see!

  21. Joba-to-the-pen says:

    We have catchers in the system.Closers and shortstops is what the Yankees need.

  22. NC Saint says:

    he has tremendous plate discipline and a discernible eye at the plate

    Yep, no question, that’s an eye he’s got right there. I can discern that even when he’s not at the plate.

  23. [...] Via KLaw, the Yankees have agreed to terms with second rounder JR Murphy. The terms aren’t yet known, but slot money for his pick (#76 overall) was roughly $478,000. He’ll get more than that, probably seven figures. You can learn all about the high school catcher here. [...]

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