Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Twins Get Their Catcher

As they have done most of the offseason, the Twins have kept their decisions close to their vest. Despite not seemingly having an opening. the club won the bid for Korean slugger Byung-Ho Park earlier this week. Now they have solidified their catching prospects going forward. In parting with former first round pick Aaron Hicks, Minnesota has acquired John Ryan Murphy from the New York Yankees.

Hicks scuffled with the Twins in his first two seasons after being promoted following the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere. In 2015, he broke out to the tune of a .256/.323/.398 average. While he still struggled as a switch hitter, Hicks hit lefties very well. On the year, he posted career highs in games player, hits, runs, homers, runs batted in, and stolen bases.

With the Twins having plenty of youth to fill the outfield, Hicks became the odd man out. He will take his cannon arm to Yankee Stadium, and look to play alongside Jacoby Ellsbury. In turn, the Twins receive 24 year-old John Ryan Murphy.

Murphy initially debuted in 2013 with the Yankees at the age of 22. He's now played in 115 big league games, getting into 67 a season ago. With the Yankees last year, Murphy slashed .277/.327/.406 with three homers and 14 runs batter in. He added nine doubles and one triple as well. Behind the plate though is where Murphy should make the biggest impact for the Twins.

After Kurt Suzuki through out an MLB worst 15% of would be base stealers in 2015, Murhpy caught 28% of them. He also allowed just seven passed balls in 416 chances. In his 415.1 IP with the Yankees last season, Murphy added 24 assists as well. With a similar path as Hicks, Murphy was a high draft pick (2nd round in 2009) out of high school. He has six seasons of minor league experience under his belt and has slashed .263/.327/.406 across that timeframe.

There's still plenty of reason to believe that Murphy has not yet maxed out his potential. While he has a ways to go to be considered a significant contributor at the big league level, the Twins addressed an absolute need. Hicks was part of a roster crunch, and with the Twins finding a one-for-one swap, the deal should benefit both sides.