Thursday, October 14, 2010
Matt Murton, Where Art thou?
Does anyone have the phone number for Matt Murton? If you do, could you give it to Mike Rizzo?
Murton, a 29 year old, just recently set the single season hit record in Japan by posting 214 hits, the previous record of 210 hits was held by none other than Ichiro.
Matt Murton was once a highly thought of prospects; drafted in the 1st round by the Boston Red Sox in 2003, Murton was then traded along with Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2004. Seeking a chance at every day playing time, Murton posted a .296/.365/.455/.820 OPS in 830 at bats from 2005-2007. Those numbers, while perfectly acceptable for a starting OF’er were not enough to keep Murton in the majors, or, in the Cubs organization.
In 2008, Murton was traded to the Oakland A’s as part of a six player deal. Murton’s stay in Oakland was brief as he was traded in the 2008-2009 offseason to the Colorado Rockies. Not content to rest on his above average MLB numbers, Murton proved his worth by hitting .324/.389/.499/.888 in 373 AB’s at Colorado Springs, the Rockies AAA ball club.
How did the Rockies re-pay him? They released him in December of 2009 to let Murton pursue a career overseas as a member of the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. As previously mentioned, Murton, just like he has done at every other stop, hit the cover off the ball posting a monster .349 AVG with a .894 OPS.
So, how does a guy like Matt Murton constantly get overlooked by scouts and GM’s alike? The simple answer is, he doesn’t hit for power. In 952 career AB’s, Murton has only posted 29 HR’s, or, a HR every 33 at-bats. If you put Murton’s numbers through a 162 game season, he’s going to hit about 12-15 HR’s. Not ideal for a guy that’s a corner OF’er.
What Murton lacks in power, he makes up for in an otherwise solid skill set. Murton can hit for AVG (career - .289), has a solid eye (career - 8.8 BB%) and he plays a very good defensive OF as seen by his career 25.8 UZR and 16.7 UZR/150.
Murton is the perfect fit for what Mike Rizzo looks for in a player. He’s a solid hitter, he plays above average defense, and, he shouldn’t cost a ton to lure back stateside with a promise of a job in RF heading into 2011. Most certainly Murton would not cost as much to bring back to the majors than someone like Yunesky Maya who signed a 4 year, 8 million dollar deal with the Nationals this past July.
Matt Murton never got a fair shot at everyday playing time in America; it’s time Mike Rizzo gave him one.