|Colton Murray, image- Tug Haines
A 13th round pick from 2011, Murray had spent time with the big league club in spring training each of the previous two seasons prior to this year. Following a 2013 campaign in which he tallied a 5-7 record with 11 saves and a 5.07 ERA in 47 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers. Those efforts were not enough to earn an invitation back to big league spring training this year. However, with the numbers he posted this season, the 24-year-old Murray is likely a lock to be among pitchers showing up early to big league camp next year.
Following 11 appearances while posting a 2.04 ERA with Clearwater this year, Murray, whose fastball is regularly clocked around 95 MPH, was promoted to Double-A Reading where he sported a 1-5 record with six saves, a 2.29 ERA and a 9.15 K/9 mark.
This weekend, I spoke with Colton about his season, his relationship with former teammate Kenny Giles and more. Read ahead for that interview.
-You've had a really nice season. What's your level of satisfaction with your 2014 campaign?
I'm really satisfied with it. I mean, I feel like I had a really good year. I feel like I had a complete turnaround of last year and I feel like I've shown the organization who I am and what I have to offer.
-You've spent some time with the big league club in spring training in previous seasons. How do you feel like that time spent there around some of the big league veterans might help you in the long run?
It was a lot of fun and it's a great experience for guys like me just to be around those guys and be able to speak to them. Being in the bullpen, you're just able to talk a lot to the guys and get inside their heads a little bit. It's great seeing (Jake) Diekman and stuff and talking to him.
-I spoke with pitching coach Dave Lundquist about you recently and he described you as possessing desirable or exemplary qualities for a reliever. When your coaches have that level of confidence in you, what does that mean to you?
It's a little bit of a confidence booster, but it's the words that are said from him to me that mean the most, not what he tells reporters or whatever. But, more so, just the advice he gives me, not just the compliments. More so, learning from what he has to say and going off all that.
-Aside from Lundy and Diekman, are there any other guys in the Phillies organization that have helped you or made solid impressions on you?
The biggest impression is the guy I talk to everyday, (Kenny) Giles. I talk to him all the time, so just hearing from him and his experiences up there is different than from anybody else that I could talk to, 'cause I've been with him since day one. He was my instructs roommate and stuff like that so, I've learned a lot from him.
-Is your repertoire anything like his, with the fastball/slider combo?
I'm fastball, curve ball, and now a slider, cutter, two-seam. Whatever. I throw a lot more pitches. He's got crazy velocity, with his slider it's a 92 mile per house freakin' curve ball half the time. I tried to teach him a change up by sending him pictures. We were in Erie and he asked me for a change up grip and I had to send him pictures of my grip. Obviously, he's not throwing a change up, up there, but you know...our repertoires aren't the same, but our attitudes on the mound- definitely.
-Kenny's a guy that gets a kick out of his high velocity. You've got some great velocity yourself. Is that something you find yourself getting pumped up for?
I'm more of a fuel by aggression guy. The more tense I am on the mound, the better I pitch. My reactions aren't going to be different than most. I like seeing the batter react to the pitch. Like, out of frustration. All that does is make me kind of smirk and I realize I have them, if they start doing stuff like that.
-Were there any pitchers you looked up to prior to turning pro that you liked a lot or wanted to emulate?
No, not really. The guys I remember throwing growing up are always the wrong guys. The guys I remember are, like, John Rocker. Just the intimidation factor that he gave out on the mound. Even before he reached the mound. obviously, his sprint. I was a big fan of the Royals and I was always sad seeing our guys go. Every player that was good went to another team, so I got frustrated.
-So, who were you into as a youngster? Beltran?
Carlos Beltran. He was my first rookie card, my first signed bat. I followed him till he left then I was pretty much done. Lima time came around, but...