Colton Murray was once a rising star in the Philadelphia Philllies system. Last season, he played four games at triple-A for the Marlins.
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 245 of 286.
Colton James Murray is a 6’1″, 202 lb. right-handed hitting and throwing pitcher from Overland Park, Kansas. He’s one of three to advance to the majors out of Overland Park, along with pitchers Jason Adam and Ryne Stanek.
Murray was born on April 22nd, 1990, and played his high school ball with Olathe East, in the town of Olathe, KS. After going undrafted, he kept close to home, attending the University of Kansas for three seasons of Big 12 ball. Murray only started in two of his 80 appearances overall, going 6-9 with a 3.89 ERA. Following his senior year in 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies chose Murray in the 13th round of the MLB Amateur Entry Draft.
Taken 421st overall, Murray joins a fraternity that places 11 percent of its members in the majors. The group is led by Louis Coleman (2008, Washington Nationals, 3.6 career WAR), Paul Edmondson (1965, Chicago White Sox, 1.6 WAR), and J.B. Wendelken (2012, Boston Red Sox, 0.3 WAR).
After Murray came to terms with the Phillies, he reported to the short-season-A Williamsport Crosscutters in the short-season-A New York-Penn League. He struck out 23 in his first 30 innings of professional work, going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA over 22 games. After that, he ended up splitting 2012 between two levels, the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League and the Clearwater Threshers in the high-A Florida State League.
Murray whiffed 62 in 59 frames in 2012, going 1-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 44 games. He was most impressive at the higher level with Clearwater, earning a 0.88 WHIP in 22 2/3 innings with the Threshers.
Murray spent a second season with the Threshers in 2013, appearing in a team-second 47 contests and going 5-7 with a 5.02 ERA. He led the team with 11 saves, and struck out 75 in 66 1/3 innings His 1.41 WHIP was better than the team-average of 1.46. Despite that terrible stat, the club was 67-68.
In 2014, Murray split his time between Clearwater and the double-A Reading Fightin Phils in the Eastern League, and went 3-7 with a 2.23 ERA. Murray struck out 77 in 76 2/3 innings, and collected a 1.11 WHIP while walking only 30. For his efforts, he was named to the EL midseason All-Star Team.
Murray had time with Reading and with the triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the International League in 2015, going 8-3 with a 2.67 ERA over 77 2/3 innings, along with 77 whiffs. He made his major league debut with Philadelphia as well, striking out nine in 7 2/3 innings but posting a 1.70 WHIP in a small sample size.
In 2016, Murray pitched 36 2/3 innings at triple-A, and also appeared in 24 major league games with the Phillies. He struck out 31 in 31 2/3 innings, going 1-1 with a 6.25 ERA. That was the last major league appearance for him to date. Here’s Murray pitching for the Phillies that season, inducing a double play courtesy of MLB’s You Tube page:
2017 would see Murray marinading back in the minors between Reading and Lehigh Valley, with 63 K’s over 52 1/3 innings. His 10.70 full-season K/9 was the best mark of his career to date. On November 11th, the Phillies parted ways with him anyways.
Murray signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays soon afterward, but got released just after Spring Training. On April 2nd, he signed with the Miami Marlins, and reported to the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League.
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Murray pitched in four games for the Baby Cakes through April, Allowing three or more earned runs in three of his appearances, each lasting two innings or less. On April 23rd, he pitched a clean inning against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, as the Cakes took a 3-2 victory. Murray tossed a perfect 14-pitch eighth innings, successfully holding the lead. Overall, however, he finished the month with a 17.36 ERA, allowing 11 hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings of work.
Soon after that, Murray joined the Long Island Ducks in the professional independent Atlantic League, and pitched to a 6.86 ERA with 24 K’s in 21 innings of work. It’s his last appearance in organized ball to date.
Murray is currently a free agent, and is free to sign with any team, affiliated or otherwise as 2019 Spring Training approaches.
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