May 30, 2024

A look at Sean Murphy’s outstanding rookie season for the Atlanta Braves in 2023

One of the greatest offseason trades the Atlanta Braves have ever made was for a catcher deserving of a Gold Glove.

 

The Atlanta Braves strengthened their already strong catching tandem by adding Sean Murphy during the offseason.

 

Fans anticipated that Travid d’Arnaud and William Contreras would be the Atlanta backstops before 2023. The Braves acquired the best defensive catcher in baseball through a three-team trade, but the front office had other ideas.

 

Murphy performed well enough in 2023 to receive enough votes to be the National League’s starting catcher in Seattle and to be nominated for his first All-Star game.

 

With a career-high 21 home runs and 68 runs batted in over 108 games, he concluded the season with a.251 average. Considering that he played alongside Travis d’Arnaud at times during the season, it was a pretty fantastic season.

 

The obvious problem is that his first half was noticeably superior to his second. He batted.306/.400/.599 through 67 games in the first half of the season, with 17 home runs, 55 runs batted in, and an OPS of.999. The Atlanta backstop was putting up numbers worthy of an MVP.

 

He only batted in the second half, so it wasn’t nearly as impressive.159/.310/.275 with 4 home runs and 13 RBI in 41 games. That is a dramatic decline and was somewhat anticipated given how well he was performing. It was not anticipated that the regression would be as severe as it was, but 162 games at that calibre of play is difficult to sustain.

Murphy has consistently hit much better in the first half of games during his career. He will therefore need to make an effort to get better at that in preparation for the 2024 campaign. Other than throwing out a runner at second base in the opening game of the NLDS, he had very little impact on the Braves during their brief postseason run.

 

He had a great defensive season, but for some reason, he did not receive a Gold Glove nomination. With an 8 DRS, he had the sixth-best DRS in the league and a 14 Fielding Run Value.

 

Throughout his career, Murphy has routinely hit much better in the first half of games. Therefore, in order to be ready for the 2024 campaign, he will need to put in some effort to improve at that. He did not play a major role in the Braves’ short postseason run, save from throwing out a runner at second base in the first game of the NLDS.

 

He had a great defensive season, but for some reason, he did not receive a Gold Glove nomination. With an 8 DRS, he had the sixth-best DRS in the league and a 14 Fielding Run Value.

 

He outperformed J.T. Realmuto in nearly every category, with the exception of pop time. It’s surprising that Realmuto was among the worst defenders in 2023. Nevertheless, Realmuto received the nomination ahead of Murphy and other worthy contenders.

 

So far, the Braves’ trade for Murphy has paid off, as he has lived up to their expectations. He needs to find a way to be more reliable offensively in the second half, but he will still be a valuable member of the Atlanta team in the future.

 

The Braves will always have one of the top infields in all of Major League Baseball if he can accomplish that. It’s encouraging to know that their strength at the catching position will continue to be present as it has shown itself over the past few seasons.

 

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