The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Shea Murray out of Ohio State this year in the 18th round and announced him as a pitcher. The 23-year-old right-hander spent this senior season playing outfield in college, but did put in 12.1 innings of pitching during his college career. He redshirted as a freshman, which accounts for the older age than your average senior draft pick.
The results weren’t good during his brief time on the mound with a 10.95 ERA and 12 walks, but he did strikeout 17 batters, plus there is some big intrigue there due to the fact he hit 99 MPH during bullpen sessions. He’s also an imposing figure on the mound at 6’6″, 240 pounds, so along with some wildness and that fastball, that is sure to lead to some uncomfortable at-bats for the opposition.
Murray didn’t pitch this season after being drafted, spending the entire time at Pirate City. We first heard that he had an elbow injury early on, then we got word that he might need Tommy John surgery. I talked to Murray this morning and he did have elbow surgery two weeks ago, but it’s a new procedure and one with a quicker recovery time than TJ surgery, which should allow him to be ready for Spring Training next year. A Tommy John surgery in mid-August would have had him out for the entire 2018 season.
Murray said that he had a torn UCL, but the ligament wasn’t replaced. In his own words, “it was essentially stitched back to the bone.” The intrigue with this new procedure is the quicker recovery time, but it appears that not every torn UCL can be repaired this way.
So now Murray should be back next year for a full season, although beginning the year in Extended Spring Training would be his initial assignment. He throws that 99 MPH, along with a curve, a slider and he doesn’t have a changeup yet, but will be working on one when he returns. He will be working mostly on fastball command next season, along with learning the new changeup, which is typical for inexperienced pitchers.