On Wednesday with a runner on second, Tanner Murphy hit a soft chopper that went under the glove of the charging second baseman. When the play was over, the run scored and Murphy was at second base.
Yes, it absolutely was an error, so no RBI for him, but good things happen when you put the ball in play — especially when you hustle.
“I just saw the ball rolling away from him, I knew the turf was pretty wet so it was just gonna keep going,” Murphy said. “I just saw it, reacted to it, ran to second.”
In the same game with two outs, no one on and down three in the bottom of the 9th, he slapped a single. No give-up at-bats for him.
“He’s a kid that’s a really good kid,” manager Luis Rivera said. “He works his tail off every time.”
Murphy was a part-time player through the first two months of the season. He rarely played back-to-back days, and oftentimes would go at least three-to-four days in-between starts.
In mid-June, almost exactly coinciding with the promotion of outfielder and the former subject of the Brooklyn Cyclones Report Brandon McIlwain to Double-A, Murphy started playing more regularly. It’s gone well, to say the least.
From June 15 on, Murphy has gone 10-16 with two home runs, a triple, four RBI, and six runs scored.
“Really just the work I’ve been putting in, in the cage and BP, I feel like is really starting to pay off,” Murphy said. “I’m starting to see the ball well. Timing’s been pretty good, everything’s just kind of been coming together right now honestly.”
Rivera mentioned how Murphy has improved his approach at the plate and is now taking what he called aggressive swings under control. Earlier in the season, Rivera said, those aggressive swings wouldn’t be under control, but he’s made the adjustment to fix that.
“That’s what baseball’s all about,” Rivera said. “It’s about making adjustments, and I’m really happy for him.”
He’s simply been scorching hot ever since he was afforded more playing time. With McIlwain now in Double-A, Murphy has quickly skyrocketed himself into a tie with Rowdey Jordan for first on the team in OPS, through Wednesday.
“He’s been putting himself on the map, he’s been playing well,” Rivera said. “I see that, my staff sees that, and I’m giving him more opportunity to play.”
Rivera said that even when Murphy wasn’t playing every day earlier in the season, he would always tell him that he was ready to do whatever was asked of him.
“That’s the type of player he is,” Rivera said. “He will be ready, he will play the game the right way … that’s what I’m expecting from him, and he’s doing it.”
Rivera said that right now the Cyclones only have four outfielders, so everyone has been getting a chance for some serious playing time. Those who take advantage of that opportunity will be the ones who play, he said.
And seize that opportunity Murphy has.
“That’s just how it is sometimes in pro ball,” Murphy said. “Whenever your name gets called you’ve got to be ready, and if you perform, then there’s a good chance you’ll stay in there. It’s all about just staying ready and not getting too down on yourself on those days where you’re not playing.”
Murphy hasn’t just been playing the outfield though, recently he’s been getting some at-bats as the DH. He said the first time he DH’d was tough, but he’s since developed a routine to stay ready. It includes some work throwing medicine balls against the dugout walls, moving around to stay loose, and having mental at-bats against the pitchers while watching the game.
When he does play the field though (which is most of the time), he’s immaculate. Per Baseball-Reference and college records, Murphy hasn’t committed an error since playing in a collegiate summer league in 2018. He has yet to commit one as a member of the Mets organization.
“I’ve always been pretty comfortable in the outfield,” Murphy said. “I played free safety in football [in high school], so I’ve always been good moving all directions out there and just tracking baseballs down. I feel like I have good reaction and good final steps toward the ball.”
The Cyclones will be home through June 26 playing the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. For ticket and promotion information, click here.