After allowing 12 earned runs through his first four starts of the season, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander really turned things around, dropping his ERA from 6.11 to 3.14 before Tuesday’s game. In three of his six starts since, he had gone seven innings while allowing one or zero runs.
Here is a comparison of his first four starts compared to the five that followed:
First four starts: 17.2 IP, 19 H, 12 ER, 8 BB, 18 K
Following five starts: 34 IP, 17 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 39 K
The bottom numbers are the Patrick Murphy Dunedin fans became accustomed to watching last season when he posted some of the best stats in the organization among pitchers.
He started 26 games in Dunedin last year, throwing 146.2 innings with an ERA of 2.64, and he even got a start in Double-A New Hampshire, where he allowed two runs and struck out six over six innings.
The Arizona native currently leads the entire Jays farm system with 60 strikeouts and has walked just 16, leading to a WHIP of 1.05 that ranks 11th in the Eastern League.
Murphy’s workload has increased each season since 2016 as he’s slowly progressed through the organization, and despite the promotions and added innings, the numbers have only got better. He tossed 90.2 innings with a 3.18 ERA in 2016, 106.2 innings in 2017 with a 3.04 ERA, and 152.2 innings last season with a 2.65 ERA.
With three starting pitchers currently on the Injured List, the Jays have only two truly reliable options in the rotation. One of them is Marcus Stroman, who many believe will be gone by the trade deadline, and the other being rookie Trent Thornton, meaning Murphy could be one of the top pitching candidates to join the club down the stretch.
With his track record, durability, and an unsteady big league rotation, it would be no surprise to see Murphy get a start in a Blue Jays uniform before the season ends. His estimated time of arrival is pinned at 2019 and his name already appears on the 40-man roster.
The Blue Jays don’t have a ton of true options to select from in Triple-A Buffalo, with top-10 prospect Sean Reid-Foley struggling to throw strikes and miss bats, allowing 38 walks and 40 hits over 49 innings.
Only time will tell, but for now, Murphy is giving the organization no choice but to continue moving him up the ranks.
Cam Black-Araujo graduated from Durham College's journalism program in 2018 and has gone on to cover MLB games in Toronto and Philadelphia for the Canadian Baseball Network. He also currently works for Prep Baseball Report as a journalist and scout. When he's not writing about baseball, you can find him at a ballpark across Ontario or even the U.S. as he's taken in a game at 12 different major league parks including Old Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium. Beyond baseball, he has completed an internship with The Hockey News.