Braves’ Sean Murphy makes debut on MLB Top 100 players

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Sean Murphy is the first member of the Atlanta Braves to make MLB Network’s Top 100 players right now, but he certainly won’t be the last. The recently acquired Gold Glove catcher makes his debut as the no. 84 ranked player.

Alex Anthopoulos swung a blockbuster trade and subsequent extension with Murphy to form one of the best backstop tandems in baseball with Travis d’Arnaud. It’s evident why the club valued the 28-year-old catcher. He had a breakout campaign for Oakland in 2022 but also earned Gold Glove honors in 2021. Murphy’s calling card is his defense.

According to Baseball Savant, Sean Murphy’s pop time to second base ranked in the 96th percentile last season, and it translates on the field. The former third-round pick threw out 19 would-be baserunners last season, tied for fifth-most in baseball, while posting a third-best 31.1% caught-stealing percentage. There’s nothing he doesn’t excel at in that facet of the game.

Defensively, Murphy is one of the best in the business, but everyone should be excited to see what he can do in a more hitter-friendly Truist park with a loaded Braves lineup around him. He was already an above-average offensive player, and I expect those numbers to rise. Here are Chase’s projections for Murphy’s 2023 campaign:

  • Sean Murphy’s 2023 Stat Predictions: .245/.327/.440, .767 OPS, 20 home runs, 81 RBIs, 4.0 fWAR

I expect him to take about 70% of the starts behind the plate for the Braves. The Gold Glover is younger, more durable, a better defender, and a more productive hitter when catching; Murphy’s production drops off significantly as a designated hitter. It will also keep a notoriously injured Travis d’Arnaud fresh to start about 30% of games, and the Braves will always have an elite bat starting at catcher with both healthy.

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

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