Owen Murphy entered the year squarely on professional scouts’ radars in anticipation of the 2022 MLB draft after excelling as a two-way player on the showcase circuit last summer.
The Riverside-Brookfield (Ill.) High School right-handed pitcher and third baseman didn’t shy away from the attention. Instead, he embraced the expectations and performed at an extremely high level.
He led his high school team to a 30-6 record and earned Gatorade Player of the Year for baseball in Illinois. He also enhanced his draft stock, with scouts projecting him as one of the top prep pitchers and a potential first-round pick in July’s draft.
“Once we get to that day, it will really set in,” Murphy said. “These days leading up to the draft, you get a lot more information, and there is a lot more talking to do, especially with the draft combine that just happened. Everything will work itself out.”
This season, Murphy tallied four no-hitters, including two perfect games. He had a 0.12 ERA, 0.24 WHIP and 137 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. He allowed 10 hits, four walks and one earned run.
At the plate, the right-handed hitter batted .548 with 15 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs and 75 RBIs. He drew 34 walks while striking out six times.
“I’m still looking to be a two-way guy for as long as I can,” Murphy said. “I had a pretty good season for myself and proved that I could do it. More guys are looking at me like that, but we will see come July 17. I don’t know what will happen, but I know I made the scouts question their boards and everything.”
Murphy is a legitimate two-way player. Most scouts believe his primary position will be on the mound if he doesn’t play both positions in pro ball.
Murphy is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander that throws a four-seam fastball, curveball, cutter and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot and clean and repeatable delivery.
Murphy’s above-average fastball is his go-to pitch. It sits 91-94 mph and generates swings and misses.
His 11-to-5 curveball and cutter are his top two breaking pitches, both flashing above-average potential. He showed an improved feel for his changeup this spring, even though he only threw it a few times per game.
Murphy hopes to develop more consistency with his secondary pitches this offseason. He also wants to improve the command and control of his pitches.
If the draft doesn’t transpire as Murphy anticipates, he is a Notre Dame commit. He committed to Notre Dame as a two-way player his sophomore year.
Notre Dame had a noteworthy season this spring, advancing to the College World Series and posting a 41-17 record.
“(Notre Dame coach) Link Jarrett is doing an amazing job,” Murphy said. “It’s incredible. (Assistant coaches) Rich Wallace and Chuck Ristano know their stuff. Watching them beat Tennessee and go on a little run there was amazing. That is a team full of hard workers, and they showed it. It was so cool to watch them this year, and I am so excited to be a part of that program.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.