With spring training right around the corner, left-handed pitcher Griffin Murphy is ready to head to Dunedin and showcase the skills he learned while a member of the Lansing Lugnuts last season. The prominent southpaw had a great second half in 2013, displaying why he is one of the Blue Jays top left-handed prospects.
While in Lansing, Murphy made a great bond with Lugnuts’ pitching coach Vince Horsman. The two of them worked on changing Murphy’s mound mechanics, fastball control, and implementing the slider more into his game. The gradual changes showed in Murphy’s outings in 2013 and will definitely help the 23-year old moving forward.
“Last year was definitely a developmental year, but it was actually really fun,” Murphy said. “It was great working with Vince Horsman to develop my game, not just on a physical level, but on the mental side as well. Vince taught me how to attack hitters and the final month of my season was definitely great for my development. It was a good year.”
“I feel fastball control is the biggest thing I have improved upon. I have been able to go inside-outside. I can keep it at the bottom part of the zone and that’s huge for me since I am a sinker ball pitcher. Adding in the slider has been big because I now have an out pitch instead of just throwing it for a strike. Now I can use it on a 0 and 2 count and get a swing and miss with it.”
“I also worked on controlling my motion,” he added. “I have always had a herky-jerky motion and we string lined it and I’m pitching in lines. Now it’s a direct step to the plate.”
The hard work paid off on the field, as you could see a difference in Murphy’s game and confidence as the season progressed.
The Highland, California native threw for 28 innings in the first half, posting a 0-2 record with a 4.50 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
Increasing his workload in the second half, Murphy would pitch 43 innings posting a 1-1 record with a 3.98 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and a save.
“It was a long year,” he said. “I was mainly focused on staying healthy and making the right strides to move my career in the right direction. It was a combination of working with Vince and a matter of him telling me what to do and me buying into his system.”
Murphy had a busy off-season preparing for 2014. The young left-hander states his off-season routine consists of a lot of running and exercises assigned by the Blue Jays organization.
“In the off-season you do a good bit of running. As a reliever you’re not necessarily doing the long distance running, but I run a few miles a day. I’ll do the sprinting and lifts. The Blue Jays give us a book and if you follow the book and buy into the program. Everything turns out really well.”
Here’s hoping things continue to turn out well as Griffin Murphy continues to develop his game towards the Major Leagues.