New York Yankees top catching prospect J.R. Murphy is in development with the Single-A Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League where he is learning to have more control of the game from the backstop.
After missing the end of the 2011 season due to an ankle injury, he appears to have fully recovered and rehabilitated and seems to be stronger than ever.
Murphy has solid defensive skills behind the plate, which he discovered after playing mostly in the outfield in high school.
He has progressed well through the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic minor leagues into the Florida State League, impressing the scouts and the Yankees organization.
Many were so impressed that it is believed that he has progressed and improved at a faster rate than catching prospect Gary Sanchez.
Murphy has moved into the role as the primary catcher for the 2012 season with the Tampa Yankees. In 18 games so far this season, he has 18 hits, one double, one triple, one home run and 10 RBI with a batting average of .265, a slugging percentage of .353 and an OBP of .324.
He has caught 17 of 18 games, with one game being played as the designated hitter to give him a day of rest.
Murphy's catching skills are phenomenal for his level, and at the rate that he has been developing and progressing, he has the potential to be promoted to Double-A at some point during the 2012 season, although it may be a good idea to wait until 2013.
There's no need to rush him.
The staff and coaches in Tampa have taught him a great deal about calling the game and playing a smart game anticipating the moves of baserunners.
Murphy is a natural in the position, having natural instinct.
He spent a great deal of time in spring training not only working on his catching skills, but on his hitting and batting mechanics, as well.
He knows that his focus must not be on catching alone. He needs to develop strength at the plate and become a powerful hitter.
Murphy is exciting to watch on the field. Get to know the name J.R. Murphy now. Assuming that Brian Cashman doesn't use him for a trade, Murphy will be a major Yankee three to five years down the road.