AFL – Colton Murray

Colton Murray was selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League based on his good 2014 season. Murray began the season in Clearwater and pitched well enough in relief to warrant a promotion to Reading after 11 appearances. His 2014 numbers were –

  •           G     IP       H     R    ER    HR    HB    BB    K    Avg.    WHIP    GO/AO    W    L    SV    SVO
  • A+    11   17.2   16    4      4       0        0       8     17   .242     1.36         0.62       2     2     2        3
  • AA    36   59.0   39  22   15       5        2     22    60   .188     1.03         1.00       1     5     6      10
  • Tot. 47   76.2   55  26   19       5        2     30    77   .201     1.11         0.90       3     7     8      13

His 47 appearances tied his professional high. His 76.2 innings pitched represented a career high. His 77 strike outs, .201 opponents batting average, and 1.11 WHIP were career bests.  He had a 9.04 K/9 but a 3.52 BB/9 that contributed to a 2.57 K/BB.

Murray produced unevenly in the fall league. He allowed runs in 4 of his 11 appearances, taking a loss in two of those four games. He pitched 6 hitless outings in his 7 other appearances, and recorded 3 Holds. His AFL stats –

  • 14.2 IP, 15 hits, 8 runs, 8 earned runs, 0 HRs, 2 BB, 13 K, 1 WP, 0 Balk

Murray threw 216 pitches, 136 for strikes, in his 11 appearances. He inherited 3 runners (all in the same game) and allowed none to score. He pitched 2.0 innings on 5 occasions, 1.0 inning on 4 occasions, and .1 inning twice – once in a hold with the bases loaded and once in a two-hit, walk-off loss.

Murray had an ERA of 4.91, a WHIP of 1.16, and a GA/AO of 1.16 in Arizona. He had a 7.97 K/9, a 1.23 BB/9, and a 6.50 K/BB. He threw 63% of his pitches for strikes.

Murray only pitched once in Surprise Stadium. It was on October 18th in the walk-off loss. He faced 3 batters and only threw 13 pitches. So, the following is an extremely SSS.

GameDay indicated that Murray threw 6 fastballs, 3 curveballs, and 4 sliders. His fastball was at 94 mph and peaked and vallied at 95 mph and 93 mph. All 6 were thrown for strikes, 1 called strike, 4 fouls, 1 ground out, and 1 ground ball double to left field.

His 3 curveballs came in at 77, 80, and 82 mph – 2 for balls and 1 a swinging strike.

His 4 sliders were in the 86-89 mph range, 3 for strikes. The game winning ground ball double came on an 86 mph slider.

Murray was a closer for Clearwater in 2013. That was the summer of Franco, Dugan, Altherr, and Perkins. I don’t remember much about Murray’s 11 saves, 75 strike outs, and 5.02 ERA. However, I do remember how well he pitched in the spring of 2014. He was one of the few Threshers who played well at the start of the season. It looks like he handled the jump to Reading well enough.

Murray is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year. It’ll be interesting to see if his velocity and K/9, as well as improved BB/9 and K/BB against AFL prospects get him a spot on the 40-man roster this winter.


15 thoughts on “AFL – Colton Murray

  1. Murray can pitch – I’ve seen him several times on milb archive videos. And he rushes the ball to the plate even faster than the numbers might suggest – if you remember Heath Bell, he pitches like that. If they leave him exposed it’s very likely in my view that he will be drafted and he’s not far away from being a big leaguer so if he’s drafted I think he won’t be offer back. His delivery is a bit violent so he’s a longer term injury risk, but this guy is a really nice potential bullpen piece as a 7th or 8th inning power arm. They should try like heck to keep him.

  2. James, the original purveyor of this site, was high on Murray. He liked his power arm and felt he would rise quickly through the organization. I saw him twice this year and when he’s good, he’s very good but when he’s bad, he’s horrible. His AZL numbers show a little of that. The word I’m looking for is inconsistent. I’d try to keep him but I wouldn’t cry if he’s left off the 40 man and someone takes him in the rule 5. I’m pretty sure he’d be offered back, if taken.

    1. I don’t think he would be offered back if the team isn’t a contender – he’s the type of guy a team could stash easily and try to develop with a good pitching coach. With the right coaching and exposure, by the middle/end of the year he could easily be a bona fide 11th or 12th guy on a big league staff and might even be better than that if he can improve his command. There’s no question in my mind that he has big league stuff and he’s aggressive and has a little swagger out there. I like him quite a bit.

      1. I count 33 guys on the 40 man roster right now. Even if Tomas was signed and Hamels traded for at least 3 guys who need to be protected, that leaves a lot of room for a guy like Murray.

        Interesting fact: the heaviest man on the 40 man roster is not Howard, which I suspected. It’s Aumont. At 6’7″, he carries 260 pounds. If you had to make a decision — I don’t think you will– on whether to keep Aumont or Murray, which would you take? Don’t let your emotions take over because you can’t let emotions get the better of you when thinking about Stock picking and baseball’s 40 man roster.

        1. That’s a crazy close call. I don’t think you could answer that question without watching a lot of game tape and talking to numerous coaches and scouts in the organization at length. The answer to that question resides almost entirely in what you think about Aumont’s upside and whether you think he can turn it around (the second consideration, believe it or not, is how likely it is you think that Murray will sustain a serious arm injury). Aumont has some of the best raw stuff in all of baseball – he was a legitimate top pick because of it. Murray doesn’t have that type of upside. But right now, not knowing anything else, I think I’d have to take Murray because I think Aumont needs a change of scenery. But if I had long talks with scouts and people on the staff and they bought into Aumont’s future, I certainly might change my mind. Sorry for the long-winded response, but that’s a good question and a very, very tough call.

  3. Two guys who are having pretty good winter seasons are Franco and Altherr. Franco has a triple slash of .295/.328/.541 with an .869 Ops. He has 3 doubles, 4 HRs and 16 RBIs in 61 ABs in his home country. Looks like he enjoys the home cooking.

    Altherr has been streaky but his triple slash is .300/.402/500 with an OPS over .900 . He has 5 doubles, 2 triples and 3 HRs and 24 RBIs. He started the winter season popping HRs and getting on base and then he went in a downturn. He seems to be back on track hitting .368 in his last 10 games. His HRs are nil in his last 15 games or so but he’s getting on base and hitting doubles and triples. He has 12 RBIs in his last 10 games. He was hotter than a pistol earlier this year when the Phils called him up to the big club. He can get like that. I’m hoping he’ll figure out how to even things out and have more consistency. He tailed off in August this year so he’s got to get stronger to stay longer.

    1. Back to AA to start the year or will they promote him to LHV? They signed all these 4A OFs, that makes me think Altherr will start at AA but Quinn will be in CF there.

    2. With Altherr, I think the power is locked in there and we hear the fielding and speed on the bases are good. I’m most concerned about the hit tool and the plate discipline – if those things come along, I think the rest of his game will follow. That’s why I’m encouraged (I say encouraged and not excited because I’ve learned the hard way not to get too giddy about winter league stats – they don’t mean as much as one would hope) about the average and the walks. Good for him, he’s getting to the tail end of his development as a prospect so those are things we really have to see now.

  4. Colton Murray will definitely be added to the 40 man. They have spots and need to keep guys like Murray who could make an appearance in Philly in 2015 if there are injuries.

      1. He has a lot better stuff than Geoff Geary. Nobody saying he’s Roger Clemens or anything, but he could be part of what is shaping up to be a dominant bullpen for years to come – a bullpen that, really, is the centerpiece of this rebuilding project, so it and he are not irrelevant.

      2. Murray does have some similarities to Geary…physically and stature, but Murray has been a relief pitcher from the beginning and Geary, who velo was at 95/96, morphed into a relief pitcher at the tail end of his minor league career. Strangely their WHIPs are pretty close at their respective ages.
        If Murray can eventually come up and give the Phillies ’05 and ’06 Geary numbers, then that would be a pretty nice thing. But next season is his 25-year season, and physically he will not get any stronger since he has plateau there, and like BJ Rosenberg before him, the window is only open for a short time then it closes before you know it

        1. My recollection was that Geary sat around 91-93, rarely touching 94 (and the Fangraph numbers, although some came toward the end of his career, seem to support that) – Murray has quite a bit more reliable velocity – sitting 94 and 95, touching 96 – but he doesn’t have the breaking stuff Geary had (at least he doesn’t right now). Geary, to me, was a bit like DeFratus (who is already better than Geary was due to the development of a pretty nifty slider) or Stutes, where Murray reminds me of Heath Bell – Murray has this release where the ball really gets on the batter quickly. He’s a power pitcher, whereas I never felt that Geary blew the ball by anyone. But could Murray have an uninspired major league career like Geary, sure he could and he might not even stick in the majors.

          1. Yes that Fangraphs was in 2007 and beyond. I saw him in 2005 touch 96.
            After so many appearances with the Phillies in ’05 and ’06, like lots of older and often-used RPs, he began to lose it.

  5. I don’t think there’s any doubt Colton will be added. His ERA in the AFL is not indicative of his work as all other peripherals show very well. I suspect he’ll start 2015 with LV but it wouldn’t be impossible to see him break camp with the big team as the last guy out of the pen.

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