And just who is Jayden Murray? Glad you asked…
- Born: April 11, 1997
- B/T: Right/Right
- 6’1″, 190-lbs
- Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft from Dixie State University (St. George, UT).
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
Here’s what got my attention: that WHIP! He strikes out a decent amount, but not really dominating batters. He has great control as seen in his steady BB% number, but the overall effect is of someone who is pitching well, but hardly crushing the competition.
So where did that WHIP come from?! If he’s not walking guys, that leads to a lower WHIP, but not that low. I checked Milb.com and he’s holding batters to a .144 (!) rate in 2021. As a starter, that’s phenomenal. Was it just High-A, and AA batters are catching up to him? No, he held High-A guys to a .149 average, while AA guys are hitting only .136!
Now while his ERA in AA is 2.36, his xFIP is 3.84, So part of this is luck: the batters are hitting ’em where they is, not where they ain’t. But .136! (Sir, this is a Wendy’s.)
Lefties, righties, Double-A, High-A, doesn’t matter, Murray mows ’em down.
I don’t have a usable spray chart to show, but what’s the difference? It’ll look like a bare field anyway.
So with little to go on, I went to FanGraphs and saw this from January:
Not a very exciting description, is it? Other than the last sentence… Is that the secret? Are his pitches better than we thought? Can he be more than the Middle Inning Relief Pitcher (MIRP) FanGraphs put on him before this season began?
Ah, recent scouting info from late August 2021! This comes from the Prospects Live Patreon $10 tier that I subscribe to, and recommend you do the same if you like getting daily emails with minor league chewy, gooey goodness.
Now we’re getting there. The FB is faster that I thought, his slider is indeed a good secondary, and now we have the first report of a third pitch, a changeup that could be at least average. Bing, bing, bing! A starter profile after all.
- Rotowire: Not on their Top 400.
- BaseballHQ: Not on their Top 100.
- Fangraphs: Not on their Top 133.
- Fantasy Six Pack: Not on their dynasty list.
- Imaginary Brick Wall: Not on the Top 473.
- Fantrax: Not on the Top 250.
He’s universally ignored by the lists.
He was a 23rd-round pick from a tiny school, so what did the rest of MLB know, and do they still know it?
Until recently, he was thought of as a two-pitch relief prospect.
Some pop-up guys pop up due to luck, and some due to skill, and some due to both. I’m getting the idea that Murray is in the third category. So while he’s not this good, he has the pitches, and the spin, and the movement, and the control, to be good. And a starter.
He’s doing it in AA, folks, so this is not a mirage.
He’s got a ways to go, and he works for the Rays organization, so he could wind up as a middle reliever anyway just because Rays. But if you haven’t heard of Jayden Murray before, I think you should now. The pride of Vernal, Utah is probably going to make the Majors in one capacity or another. For a 23rd-round pick, that is an unalloyed triumph.