Revisiting the Top 50 – Part IV

Daniel Murphy made it to the show

Here is the fourth installment of InsidePitchMagazine.com's look at last year's Top 50 Prospects. As noted in previous segments, we take a look at each prospect's season with analysis on the outcome of his year. Part IV takes a look at the group just outside the top ten, a bunch filled with many movers whether their moves were positive or negative.

#20: Daniel Murphy

BINGHAMTON: 95 G, .308, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 56 R, 26 2B, 3B, 14 SB, .374 OBP%
NEW YORK: 29 G, .351, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 15 R, 4 2B, 3B, .437 OBP%

Murphy really came on strong this season as a catalyst in the B-Mets lineup which was crushing everything in sight earlier this season. He expanded on his already mature hitting prowess, but as the season rolled along, moves were made to find Murphy a consistent defensive position after struggling at third base for the second straight season. His promotion to New York on August 2 not only validated the strength of his work in Double-A, but help him shoot up the prospects list.

#19: Sean McCraw

ST. LUCIE: 28 G, .143, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2B, 1 SB, .250 OBP%
SAVANNAH: 38 G, .266, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 11 R, 7 2B, 3B, .367 OBP%

2008 certainly did not turn out to be the year fourth-year catcher thought it would. He broke camp as the number one catcher on the St. Lucie depth chart, but his lack of offensive production sent him back to Savannah where he continued to struggle. It eventually got a point in Savannah when McCraw, who possesses a strong arm behind the plate, was slotted as a designated hitter to allow him to focus solely on his offense.

#18: Scott Moviel

SAVANNAH: 9-8, 4.43, 24 GS, 120 IP, 82 K, 36 BB
ST. LUCIE: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 5 IP, 2 K, BB

Moviel made a strong push in the second-half of his stay in Savannah, rebounding from a very poor start during which he lost six of his first seven decisions. As the season rolled along, he began minimizing his walk totals and found much more consistency in his curveball. His target number for innings pitched was 140, but early season struggles prevented him from achieving that number. His final start of the season, which came in St. Lucie, was hopefully a sign of things to come from the 20-year-old right-hander.

#17: Jose De La Torre

De La Torre tossed 61.1 innings pitched in St. Lucie in 2007, but the right-hander went under the knife last winter. De La Torre, known for his very sharp fastball/slider combination, is still rehabbing his way back but his future on the mound and in the organization rests on the health of that arm.

#16: Tobi Stoner

ST. LUCIE: 1-5, 2.60 ERA, 9 GS, 52 IP, 48 K, 9 BB
BINGHAMTON: 4-6, 4.33 ERA, 15 GS, 79 IP, 59 K, 29 BB

Stoner, like his 2007 season, split his year among two levels and made a strong impression after being promoted. The right-hander is throwing harder than in previous years and really worked over Florida State League opposition with his terrific command. He took a few lumps while in the B-Mets rotation, but continues to show a tremendous ability to rebound and keep his growth trending upwards.

#15: Eric Niesen

ST. LUCIE: 6-12, 4.64 ERA, 26 G, 24 GS, 118.1 IP, 77 K, 46 BB

Niesen is a good example of a pitcher finding out what it takes to survive in year two. After a successful stint in Brooklyn last year, Niesen certainly had his highlights and lowlights pitching in the St. Lucie rotation. His best month came in June when he posted a 2-3 record and a 3.14 ERA in five starts. The development of a third pitch is crucial for the left-hander.

#14: Nathan Vineyard

SAVANNAH: 0-2, 14.63 ERA, 2 GS, 8.0 IP, 3 K, 6 BB

What started off looking like two rough starts turned into something much more for the 19-year-old left-hander. At first, Vineyard was just pitching through some discomfort as he attempted to loosen up his shoulder for the year, but that stiffness eventually revealed the need for shoulder surgery which shut him down for the season. Vineyard, like Moviel, made the jump to Savannah after making his debut last season in the Gulf Coast League.

#13: Nick Carr

ST. LUCIE: 2-10, 5.70 ERA, 22 G, 21 GS, 94.2 IP, 80 K, 50 BB
SAVANNAH: 1-2, 3.33 ERA, 4 GS, 24.1 IP, 16 K, 4 BB

Though not his second year in the system, Carr certainly was another hurler who found tough treading in his first crack at long-season leagues. The right-hander, known for his live arm, had serious trouble maintaining strike zone consistency which caused his record in St. Lucie to drop to 0-10 before claiming his first victory. He was sent down to Savannah mid-season to work on regaining his form which did seem to return upon going back to St. Lucie. In his last ten outings, he posted a 2-3 record with a 3.95 ERA including 12 shutout innings over his final two appearances [one start].

#12: Matt Bouchard

SAVANNAH: 62 G, .215, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 34 R, 11 2B, 4 3B, 5 SB, .271 OBP%
BROOKLYN: .13 G, .294, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3 2B, 2 SB, .368 OBP%

Bouchard's stick may not provided the results the organization believes it can, but the second-year shortstop is an impressive fielder who should only improve with more time at the plate. His production may not speak to his current value, but his progress is certainly worth observing over the next couple of seasons.

#11: Eddie Kunz

BINGHAMTON: 1-4, 2.79 ERA, 44 G, 48.1 IP, 27 SV, 43 K, 25 BB
NEW ORLEANS: 0-1, 7.94 ERA, 6 G, 5.2 IP, 4 K, 2 BB
NEW YORK: 0-0, 13.50 ERA, 4 G, 2.2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB

Kunz made the biggest jump of anyone in the 2007 draft class, moving from Brooklyn all the way to Binghamton with the responsibility of holding down the back of the B-Mets bullpen. He struggled with his command in the season's opening weeks, but got stronger as the year rolled along before earning a promotion straight from Double-A to Shea. Though roughed up during his big league debut, he has shown an ability to handle Triple-A opposition outside of one five-run effort that inflated his ERA in New Orleans [five of his six Triple-A appearances were shutout innings].

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