SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
11. Ryan Murphy, RHP
Highest Level: High-A (Eugene)
Acquired: Draft (2020)
Future-Value Grade: 40+
Ryan Murphy was the final SF Giants pick in the 2020 draft and signed for a well-below slot $25,000 signing bonus, but after arguably the best statistical season from a minor league starting pitcher over the past decade, he’s become one of the best pitching prospects in the system. Murphy has made 20 starts between Low and High-A, recording a 2.61 ERA with a minor-league leading 156 strikeouts and just 26 walks in 103.1 innings pitched.
FanGraphs’ minor-league leaderboard only goes back to 2006, but over that time span, no one who has completed at least 100 minor-league innings has recorded a better strikeout rate than Murphy’s 38.6% mark. Of the 12 pitchers that have struck out at least 35% of opposing hitters while accruing at least 100 minor-league innings, Murphy has the third-best walk rate of the group.
Murphy’s elite strikeout and walk rates between Low and High-A have garnered plenty of attention, but it’s not uncommon for college pitchers with good command to overpower hitters in the lower minors. Murphy’s fastball sits around 92 mph and has strong characteristics that help it punch above its weight. He has a solid changeup and he’s reshaped his slider this season as well, but he lacks a putaway pitch. Murphy relies on an easy, repeatable delivery that helps him locate all of his pitches to be effective.
Murphy has done everything the Giants have asked of him thus far in his career and some in the organization believe he will be able to find another gear. Murphy’s strikeouts will almost assuredly decline as he progresses through the minors, but that’s not unique to him. Assuming he develops above-average command, he could become a competent back-end starter with mid-rotation upside if he finds a dominant secondary offering.
There’s an argument to rank Berroa, Mikulski, and Murphy in any order. Berroa has the nastiest arsenal, Murphy has the best command, and Mikulski (the only lefty) generates the most consistent deception. I leaned towards Berroa for the majority of the process, in part because he’s the youngest, but when I discovered how unprecedented Murphy’s minor league performance was, I ultimately gave him the top nod in this tightly packed trio.