Pittsburgh Pirates: Three More Rule 5 Draft Picks to Consider

LAKELAND, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Joey Murray #73 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 04, 2021 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Joey Murray #73 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 04, 2021 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Feb 25, 2021; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Joey Murray throws during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Toronto Blue Jays/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2021; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Joey Murray throws during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Toronto Blue Jays/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Right-Handed Pitcher Joey Murray

Pirate general manager Ben Cherington should be familiar with Joey Murray. He is a Toronto Blue Jays prospect selected in the 8th round of the 2018 draft. Murray had a great 2019 season where he reached Double-A. In 137.1 total innings ranging from Low-A to Double-A, the right-hander posted a 2.75 ERA, 2.98 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP.

Murray was 5th in strikeout rate among Blue Jays’ pitchers with at least 50 innings under their belt. His 30.1% strikeout rate paired well with his healthy 8.7% walk rate. Home runs were pretty much a non-issue for him as well. He had a 0.66 HR/9, placing him well above average. Overall, it was an excellent season for the right-hander, but 2021 wouldn’t go as planned.

Murray appeared in just one game, missing nearly the entire year due to injury. Still, there’s potential for the right-hander to figure it out next year. He did spend most of 2019 at Double-A, so he has pitched in the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Murray throws four offerings, three of which project to be above average. He isn’t a guy who overpowers opponents with velocity, instead using high spin to get strikeouts. Dubbed the “invisiball,” Murray’s high-spin fastball helps the ball ride through the zone. This helps make up for the fact he only throws between 90-93 MPH. His primary breaking ball is a 12-6 curve, but he’ll also throw a slider. He has a feel for his change-up, but it’s only a 45-level offering.

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Murray will need to overcome fringy command, but a four-pitch arsenal where three of the offerings are considered 55-grade pitches should help make up for some of the command issues. He hasn’t struggled with command like Tahnaj Thomas has, for example, but he misses his spots from time to time.

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