As a certain 80s TV show theme song will remind us, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have...the facts of life. Here is the good for you to take:
This is...extraordinary, in the literal sense of the word. Murfee was a 33rd round pick in 2018, a round that no longer exists in the MLB Draft, as a graduate transfer from Santa Clara University; in his own words, he signed for “a candy bar and a plane ticket.” Initially brought on as organizational filler (he would tell you that himself), Murfee unlocked something powerful in High-A Modesto under the tutelage of then-Mariners pitching coach Rob Marcello Jr., developing a putaway slider that skyrocketed his K% to nearly 30%.
Murfee continued to climb from there, and in 2021 proved his stuff would play even in the hitter’s haven of Triple-A, where he was able to maintain that powerful strikeout rate even while walking more batters than he’d like (13%). So far this year Murfee has lowered the walks while still striking out everyone and their brother; in eight innings for Tacoma he’s struck out 10 batters while only allowing one hit and no runs.
Murfee has continued to build on a strong spring campaign that flashed this interesting bit of data:
Notable spring Stuff+ numbers from latest stats drop: (Statcast isn’t in all spring parks & usually you want 300 pitches for this metric)— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) April 6, 2022
Penn Murfee 170 lol
Bobby Miller 126
Spencer Strider 126
Anthony Bender 125
Roansy Contreras 124
Nick Lodolo 123
Luis Gil 119
Thor 117 phew
Now he’ll have a chance (hopefully) to see how his stuff plays against big-leaguers; if it’s anything like it was in Spring Training, where he struck out 6 in 3.1 innings while mostly facing actual big leaguers, Murfee might make for a dependable depth option as the team continues to navigate illness and injury, and maybe even more. At the very least, we can all enjoy his Dracula impression:
Now as to who he’s replacing, because the facts of life demand we take the bad with the good: Paul Sewald has been put on the COVID IL, as the virus continues to make its way through the Mariners clubhouse. Manager Scott Servais and coach Manny Acta are also out with the virus, so tonight’s game will be managed by the Tacoma Rainiers staff: former manager and current Mariners 1B coach Kris Negrón will take over for Servais, and Tacoma coaches Zach Vincej (who is only recently removed from his own playing career) and Tony Arnerich will take over at first and third, respectively. If you need us we’ll just be busy sealing up Perry Hill in a hermetic bubble.