In the age of Ohtani, Braves draft legitimate two-way prospect in first round

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Did the Atlanta Braves just select the next Shohei Ohtani? While those comparisons may be going a little too far, Owen Murphy has plenty of potential.

Murphy was ranked as the 48th-best prospect in the draft, per MLB Pipeline. Much of that was due to the fact he has yet to pick a definitive position.

The 18-year-old will tell you he’s a pitcher, and rightly so. He has the stuff of an elite high school pitching prospect. However, his ability with the bat clouds his future.

Had he gone to college, odds are whatever school he went to would’ve allowed him to figure out his long-term position on the fly. However, should he choose to skip that level altogether and report right to Low-A, he’ll be used primarily as a pitcher to start. And that’s what Atlanta views him as.

Braves: What the scouts think about Owen Murphy

Per MLB Pipeline, Murphy will play as a pitcher to start out:

“A legitimate two-way prospect, Murphy led all pitchers with 10 strikeouts in four scoreless innings and went 4-for-9 with a home run at the PDP League last July before pulling double duty on the U.S. 18-and-under national team in September. Gatorade’s 2022 Illinois state player of the year, he posted a 0.12 ERA with 137 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings while also batting .548 with 18 homers. While he might go as high as the fifth round as a third baseman, he’s trending up as a pitcher and his future is definitely on the mound.”

Keith Law of The Athletic agrees, though he still has plenty of work left to become a capable pitcher:

“Murphy has one of the better fastballs among high school pitchers in the class, low to mid 90s but with very good ride on the pitch so that he misses bats with it even in the zone. His secondary stuff isn’t as good yet, with a low-80s slurve that has some tight downward break and a below-average changeup, along with a curveball that looks like a spike and that he doesn’t command.”

Murphy had a ton of power at the high-school level, but like most prospects who skip the collegiate level, had to choose one to achieve a higher draft status. While he’s committed to Notre Dame, Murphy seems fine with his status as a pitcher.

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