BREAKING: Owen Murphy Signs Rookie Deal with Braves

Owen Murphy excels as a two-way player - Baseball Prospect Journal
Photo Credits: Baseball Prospect Journal

Owen Murphy, Braves reach deal

The Atlanta Braves signed first round pick Owen Murphy to his rookie deal, meaning Murphy will not be attending Notre Dame. The right handed pitcher/ third baseman will join rookie camp (like all draftees) next week.

The Baseball Side of This Deal

There is still some uncertainty around whether or not Murphy will play both sides of the ball, but the talent is clearly there. In his senior year, Murphy posted a 0.12 ERA with 137 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. Murphy also hit .548 with 18 homers. Murphy also threw four no hitters, two of which were perfect games.

On the mound, Murphy is a stand-out product. As just a pitcher, he was likely to go during the competitive balance pick round. Murphy features a five pitch mix. A high velocity fastball, hitting 96 — at 18 years-old — a plus slider, a change up, and curveball that he will look to find more consistency with at the pro level. In my interview with Owen Murphy he talks about his cutter. Murphy has extremely large hands that he uses to flick the ball and create high spin rates. High spin on a cutter and fastball make it look as if the ball is rising on its way to the plate.

At the plate, Murphy was projected as a 3-4th round pick. He is a plus fielder at third, obviously with great arm. At the plate he showed that he stays in his mechanics well, as more of a pull hitter. You won’t see Murphy hit 40+ bombs, but he is extremely reliable in clutch situations and is always good for a base knock.

The Logistical Side of This Deal

The 20th pick in this year’s MLB draft is slotted at $3,407,400. I can not confirm if Murphy was above or below slot. However, in their trade with the Royals, the Braves acquired $2,202,100 in draft pool money. Baseball draft deals are unlike other sports where players can be paid more to keep them from going to college or returning for a senior year.

Yordan Alvarez Was On Fire; Named ALCS MVP

Will the fiery youngster fresh off an MVP bring more hardware to Houston?

To say that Yordan Alvarez was pretty good in the American League Championship Series is an understatement. Saying he was on fire the last two games of the ALCS is pretty accurate. Alvarez, who was named the series MVP, was virtually unstoppable in the final two games. In fact, in games five and six, he outhit the entire Red Sox by himself. The ball may be looking huge to him right now and the Houston Astros are hoping that stays.

The Astros and the Atlanta Braves will meet starting Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series. Alvarez will be playing in his second World Series after appearing in the 2019 Fall Classic as a rookie against the Washington Nationals. Alvarez’s been a skilled acquisition for the Astros. However, if not for former GM Jeff Luhnow, he may not have ever come to Houston.

Minor Leagues

The Dodgers signed Alvarez as an international free agent after two seasons in the Cuban National Series. The Astros traded for him in 2016 for reliever Josh Fields. Alvared would make his professional debut in 2016 with the Dominican Summer League Astros, and began 2017 with the Quad City River Bandits. During this time, he was promoted to the Blues Creek Astros. He appeared in the All-Star Futures Game.  

While with AA Corpus Christi in 2018, he was ranked among the top minor league prospects in the game. This earned him a promotion to the Fresno Grizzlies of Class AAA Pacific Coast League. He hit a combined .293/.369/.534 with 20 home runs, and 74 RBI. The 2019 season for Alvarez with the Round Rock Express of the PCL finished as follows: .343/.443/.742 with 23 home runs, 71 RBI, 38 walks, and 50 runs before he was called up on June 9, 2019. 

MLB Career

Alvarez made his MLB debut against the Baltimore Orioles and went 1 for 3 with a two-run home run. In 87 games with the Astros, he batted .313 with 27 home runs, 75 RBI, and had a slugging percentage of .655, which was the highest in history for a qualified rookie. He helped lead the Astros to the World Series and hit his first postseason home run in Game Five’s victory. After the season, he would win the American League Rookie of the Year award unanimously.   

The 2020 season would be one to forget for Alvarez. He sat out at the start of the season due to testing positive for COVID-19. He would return in August but only play two games due to knee issues that would cause him to have arthroscopic surgery on both knees and shut him down for the season. 

2021 Season

Alvarez would rebound from his lost 2020 season and play well in 2021. He finished the regular season batting .277 with 33 home runs and 105 RBI, helping the Astros win the AL West division. He’s been successful this postseason; now just hope he can keep his hot streak going in the World Series. Should he stay hot, it’ll go a long way in the Astros winning their second World Title in five seasons. For him, it would be his first and the perfect way to end the season after a lost one.