BUFFALO, NY - Following a summer where he split time between the United States National Team and the Holyoke Blue Sox, sophomore catcher Tom Murphy was named Baseball America's Top Prospect out of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, adding to his recent honor of The Perfect Game's Summer Collegiate All-American Team honor
The West Monroe, NY native batted .291 with nine home runs and 25 runs batted in for the Blue Sox, who finished tied for first in the Western Division of the New England Collegiate Baseball League with a 28-14 record. Murphy's nine home runs were the second most in the entire league and he was named to the league's all-star team for his efforts. He was the lone player from the Mid-American Conference to make the list.
Murphy earned Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honors despite the Bulls' 3-22 conference record, after hitting .384/.446/.626 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs as a sophomore. His spring put him on scouts' radar screens, but his summer ensured they will flock to Buffalo next year, as one talent evaluator said Murphy could go in the top three rounds of the draft.
Two swings of the bat in a showcase against Team USA and Louisiana State flame-throwing righty Kevin Gausman at Fenway Park opened eyes: Murphy ripped Gausman's first-pitch fastball about 400 feet foul off the Coca-Cola sign down the left-field line, then he stayed back on Gausman's sharp slider and launched it over the Green Monster for an estimated 450 feet, showing off his compact stroke and plus raw power. A few days later, Murphy signed to play a five-game series with Team USA against Team Japan.
When he returned to Holyoke, Murphy continued raking to the tune of .291/.364/.575. An athletic 6-foot-1, 210-pound backstop, Murphy ran a 6.75-second 60-yard dash at the NECBL all-star game. He is a good receiver with a solid-average arm, routinely turning out 1.9-second pop times, though his throwing needs refinement as the ball sails on him at times. Scouts and managers alike raved about Murphy's work ethic, and Holyoke general manager Kirk Fredriksson, who recruited Strasburg in 2007, called Murphy the league's best catching prospect during his 15 years.