The Braves had a quiet offseason. Most winters aren’t going to be busy when Alex Anthopoulos has locked up the core of the team for the better part of the next decade, but the club did make one major acquisition — Sean Murphy — who has come as advertised… and then some.
All he’s done since arriving in Atlanta is rake and play outstanding defense. In fact, he’s already grabbed a franchise record, recording nine extra-base hits over five games in April, the most by a Braves player since 1966.
Through 109 plate appearances, Murphy has career-highs in a number of metrics — batting average (.276), on-base percentage (.422), slugging (.632), and OPS (1.054). Moreover, he’s on pace to eclipse his highest home run and RBI totals.
To say the trade has been a resounding success for the Braves would be an understatement. Sean Murphy ranks first among all catchers in fWAR (1.6), wRC+ (179), RBIs (23), BB% (17.4), home runs (8), runs (19) slugging (.632), and on-base percentage (.632).
He’s not only producing at an elite rate for a catcher, but he’s also among the best offensive players in baseball, regardless of position.
The Braves legitimately have All-Stars at more positions than they don’t, and the club has two at catcher. Having two studs as backstops isn’t a luxury most teams can claim. It’s arguably the weakest position in the game today, but Brian Snitker has had two All-Star caliber catchers in back-to-back seasons, even if he has had to rely on Murphy more than anticipated in the early going since Travis d’Arnaud went down with a concussion.
Before the season began, I expected Sean Murphy to improve in most facets of his game. The Oakland Collesium is one the least hitter-friendly parks in baseball, and the Braves lineup is littered with stars; there’s no way to pitch around anyone. Those have dramatically impacted Murphy’s production.
So much so that he deserves at-bats as the designated hitter, which wasn’t something I anticipated. Even when the Braves welcome back Orlando Arcia and d’Arnaud, expect Snitker to still turn to Murphy in some games to DH.
The Braves have to be satisfied with the way Sean Murphy has rewarded them, and he’ll be here through the 2029 season.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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