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Luke Murphy Selected by LA Angels in the 4th Round

The Law could be a fast mover to the Anaheim bullpen.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-NC State v Vanderbilt Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

#50 Jr. RHP Luke “The Law” Murphy

2021 Stats: 4-1, 2.40 ERA, 41 & 1⁄3 IP, 9 SV, 13.28 K/9, 3.27 BB/9

Here’s his MLB.com scouting report:

A rare third-year freshman, Murphy blew out his elbow after his senior season in high school and redshirted at Vanderbilt in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He issued nine walks in two innings during the shortened 2020 season before emerging as one of the Commodores’ top relievers this spring. He won the decisive game of the regionals against Georgia Tech and earned a save in the super regionals against East Carolina.

Murphy’s fastball sat around 90 mph in high school but now ranges from 93-96 and peaks at 99 with riding action up in the zone. His power curveball operates in the low 80s and can be a plus pitch at its best but can flatten out when he overthrows it. He also uses a mid-80s changeup with some fade and sink against left-handers, though he has trouble throwing it for strikes.

Murphy utilizes his 6-foot-5 frame and high three-quarters arm slot to stay on top of his curveball and create plane on his pitches. He has the athleticism to throw more strikes, but he has just fringy control and can get into trouble when he doesn’t locate his offerings where he wants. He’s likely limited to a bullpen role but could be a high-leverage option at the next level if he develops more consistency.

Range: Rounds 5-20.

MLB.com Top 250 Ranking: #220.

Prediction: Though Murphy does have the “extra Covid year” leverage, I suspect what we saw from him this past year represents his ceiling as a college pitcher. That’s not a criticism, by the way. It’s just an honest opinion that while Maldo might have the ability to turn himself into a starting pitcher in 2022, Murphy is without a doubt a reliever. He’s a hard-throwing, ice-water in the veins, future MLB late inning reliever. As such, teams will devalue him a bit (as they do for all relievers), but he’ll be taken by the end of Day 2 (I’ll say between rounds 5 and 10), and will sign for around slot value.