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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: John Ryan Murphy

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Murphy started the season strong in the majors, but his performance dipped when he was sent back to Triple-A.

Rich Schultz

Grade: B-

Statistics: Triple-A: 51 G, .246/.292/.397, 6 HR; Majors: 32 G, .284/.318/.370, 1 HR, 93 wRC+

2014 Level/Roster Status: Triple-A/MLB/40-man roster

When the 2014 season started, John Ryan Murphy seemed destined to spend the majority of the season in Triple-A, barring some sort of trade. Instead, Francisco Cervelli almost immediately injured his hamstring, and Murphy was called up to replace him as the backup catcher. Murphy swung the bat well towards the start of the season, going on to hit .364/.382/.394 in the month of May. By the time June rolled around, he started to struggle and ended up collecting just two hits during his last eighteen at-bats. Thankfully, this lined up with Cervelli's return from the DL, and Murphy was designated back to Triple-A where he remained until September call-ups.

Although this isn't what you would expect, he had a better season overall in the majors. His strikeout percentage in Triple-A was elevated from last season, while his walk percentage decreased. He might have had the opportunity to re-join the team in August when Brian McCann missed time with concussion symptoms, but Murphy ended up being injured at the exact same time, and missed almost two weeks of his own. After finally being called up in September, Murphy only played in a handful of games, and finished the season with five hits in his last twenty at-bats.

In terms of his defense, Murphy caught 201 innings in the majors, and made just one throwing error. He allowed 10 stolen bases, and caught two runners stealing, making his CS% just 17. In the minors, his CS% was 26% for the season,; 26% is also his career average. For the sake of comparison, Cervelli's was 25% and McCann's was 37%, while league average in the majors was 27%, granted that they both caught many more innings than Murphy.

As things currently stand, Murphy has the starting job locked down in Triple-A, where he has edged out Austin Romine. It seems that Cervelli will remain in the backup catcher position for as long as he is on the Yankees, and for as long as he is healthy. Coming off of this season, Cervelli's stats really speak for themselves and he's earned the job at this point. It seemed ridiculous that the Yankees started the season with five catchers on their 40-man roster, and even more improbable that they would remain on the roster all season, yet here we are. Since McCann pretty obviously is not going to be traded, Cervelli and Murphy seem to be the two most likely candidates to be moved during the offseason. Unless Cervelli gets traded, we probably will only see Murphy in 2015 if one of the catchers get injured, and when rosters expand.