Spring Training Spinners — DAVID MURPHY

We round out our coverage of former Spinners on the Red Sox Spring Training roster with a profile of the most recent former Spinner to make the Major Leagues: outfielder David Murphy.

David Murphy – 2003 Spinners stats: .346 BA, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 9 SO, 16 BB in 78 AB

On September 2 of last summer, while the Red Sox were falling out of contention, David Murphy made his Major League debut in Boston’s outfield, going 1-for-3 against the Blue Jays. Murphy’s journey to the Majors took off as a member of Lowell’s 2003 roster, where he began his professional career after being drafted 17th overall out of Baylor University.

Murphy was the Spinners best hitter in 2003, batting .346 with a .453 on-base percentage and 13 runs scored in 21 games, the best stint of any length in his professional career. He was quickly promoted to High-A Sarasota where he finished out his 2003 season hitting only .242 as one of Sarasota’s youngest players.

In 2004, Murphy repeated Sarasota with modest improvement, hitting .261 in 272 at-bats in the Florida State League, but the power he’d shown as a senior at Baylor (11 home runs, .614 slugging percentage) had not yet developed. He only hit four longballs and his .346 slugging percentage was not awe inspiring.

Nevertheless, a 23-year-old Murphy spent all of 2005 with Double-A Portland, batting a solid .275 with a resurgent 14 homers and 13 stolen bases. Throw in solid doubles power and some nice centerfield defense and Murphy’s Major League potential was growing. Similar results came from his 2006 return to Portland — a .273/.315/.436 batting line (BA/OBP/SLG) — before a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he blossomed into a .267/.355/.447 stat line, his best since his time as a 2003 Spinner.

That success brought him up to Boston in early September as a fill-in while both Trot Nixon and Wily Mo Pena recovered from injury. In his third career start, Murphy led of the game with a home run at Yankee Stadium, endearing himself to Red Sox fans across New England.

With added bulk, Murphy is ready to compete for a bench spot on the 2007 team. Even if he starts the season in Pawtucket, expect to see more than a few highlights of Murphy’s centerfield defense on display at Fenway Park this summer.

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