The Red Sox are planning to recall Chris Murphy during their upcoming series with the Guardians, reports Chris Cotillo of MassLive (Twitter link). It’s not yet clear whether he’ll make a start or break in out of the bullpen but the Sox lost Chris Sale to the injured list last week.
In either case, Murphy is in position to make his major league debut. It’s a great birthday present for the left-hander, who turns 25 today. Murphy is already on the 40-man roster after the Sox added him to keep him out of last winter’s Rule 5 draft. They’ll only need to make an active roster move whenever he’s formally promoted.
A University of San Diego product, Murphy has spent the past few seasons in the middle ranks of the Boston farm system. Baseball America has slotted him between 12th and 15th among Sox prospects four years running. He checked in 13th at BA and 11th on Keith Law’s ranking at The Athletic last winter. Both outlets credit him with a solid four-pitch arsenal headlined by his changeup. BA and Law each suggest he has a back-of-the-rotation caliber repertoire but might be better suited for long relief thanks to inconsistent control.
Even a swing role would be strong value for a player who signed for $200K as a sixth round pick in 2019. Murphy has had a spotty showing through ten appearances with Triple-A Worcester this year. He’s allowed a 7.71 ERA in 39 2/3 innings. A .385 average on balls in play surely hasn’t helped matters, though he’s also walked nearly 13% of batters faced. He is coming off a scoreless three-inning outing last week in which he allowed only one baserunner with a trio of strikeouts.
Murphy is an upper minors pitcher who’s already on the 40-man roster and capable of covering multiple innings. He’s in his first of three option years and can bounce between Boston and Worcester without being placed on waivers. Even if his initial MLB stint is a spot start or relief appearance, he’s on the organizational radar as a depth option.