Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Cubs Have the Best Hitter in their Double-A League


BJ Murray Jr. has gone from, hey look a Cubs prospect playing the World Baseball Classic, to, holy shit, BJ Murray Jr. is the best hitter in the Southern League.

The 23-year-old played for Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic back in March and for a lot of Cubs fans, myself included, it was the first time seeing Murray play. The switch-hitter had a couple doubles during the pool play in the WBC and he also got on base a few more times with a pair of walks. The Cubs drafted Murray in the 15th round out of Florida Atlantic in 2021, and after playing in 16 games in the Arizona Complex League that summer, Murray spent his first full pro year at Single-A, splitting time at Myrtle Beach and South Bend in 2022.

Overall in 95 games, Murray had a slash line of .286/.410/.439, with 8 home runs, 19 doubles and a triple in 385 plate appearances. But again, looking back at his numbers, one thing stood out and it was Murray’s .410 OBP. Murray had matching 16.1 walk rates in 39 games at Low-A and in 56 games at Advanced A-Ball in his first full pro year playing minor league baseball.

In 2023, the. Cubs assigned Murray to Double-A, with the Tennessee Smokies and guess what, his good eye at the plate hasn’t gone away against tougher competition. So far in 35 games, Murray has a 17.3 percent walk rate and has six home runs in 150 plate appearances that’s led to an .944 OPS and 160 wRC+.

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That 160 wRC+ is number one in the Double-A Southern League. He’s joined by three other Cubs prospects ranked in the top-12.

And this is why I will always like players who show the ability to contribute on offense even when they’re not hitting. Murray wasn’t exactly turning heads to begin the season, as he only put up a .212 batting average in 20 games during April. Despite that, Murray still posted a .376 OBP that month because he walked 17 times.

If you dig a little more, it was really only two bad weeks to begin the season for Murray because here’s what he’s done since April 20.

BJ Murray Jr. Stats Since April 20
21 Games, 92 Plate Appearances
.292/.435/.569, 1.004 OPS, 176 wRC+
5 HR, 16 RBI, 12 R, 5 2B, 20 K, 17 BB

Looking at just the month of May, Murray has been one of the top hitters in the Cubs system.

BJ Murray Jr. Stats in May
12 Games, 52 Plate Appearances
.286/.423/.690, 1.114 OPS, 198 wRC+
5 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R, 2 2B, 11 K, 9 BB

Those were his numbers heading into this week. In his last three games, Murray’s bat has stayed hot, going 7-for-13, with four doubles and a triple. Going into Friday night’s game, Murray’s updated season slash line is up to .273/.407/.537. More than half of Murray’s hits have gone for extra bases, 6 home runs, 2 triples and 10 doubles.

So now in 15 games in the month of May, Murray is slashing .345/.446/.764, good for a 1.210 OPS and 222 wRC+.

On Thursday night, Murray extended his on-base streak to 26 games.

Get on the BJ Murray Jr. hype train!!!


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May 19, 2023 2:11 pm

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Clover Abigayle
May 19, 2023 11:54 am

the BJ Murray Jr. hype train!!!

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