John Ryan Murphy signed with the New York Yankees on Monday morning and will begin his professional baseball career Tuesday when he reports to the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League team in Tampa.
“It’s kind of weird hearing that phrase, ‘pro baseball player,’ ” Murphy said. “I’m excited. I just can’t wait to start. I’m more excited about playing baseball again.”
Murphy, the Bradenton product who played at IMG’s IMG Academy School, was taken in the second round by the Yankees in the June draft. He had until midnight Monday to sign a contract or the Yankees would lose his rights. Murphy, a catcher, turned town a scholarship to the University of Miami for a signing bonus of $1.25 million, according to Baseball America.
A catcher, Murphy batted .627 with 11 home runs, 66 RBIs, a .686 slugging percentage and a 1.235 slugging percentage last spring for IMG Academy.
“I really want to thank the academy,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Another Manatee County catcher made it under Monday’s deadline — Lakewood Ranch’s Michael Ohlman signed with the Baltimore Orioles, who took him in the 11th round of the June draft. Ohlman signed with the Orioles for $995,000, according to Baseball America.
The Herald’s Player of the Year, Ohlman hit .550 with three home runs, 28 RBIs and 23 stolen bases for the Mustangs. He had signed with Miami.
Murphy said he wasn’t too concerned about missing Monday’s deadline to sign. A number of top draft picks were unsigned Monday and several teams, the Tampa Bay Rays among them, will not sign their top picks.
Murphy felt he couldn’t lose. He was either going to join the Yankees farm system or go to Miami, where he always dreamed of playing.
Murphy will spend the first few days with the GCL Yankees familiarizing himself with the routine of the team. He said he was told he won’t see action in a game until later this week.
After the GCL season ends, Murphy will remain in Tampa and participate in the Instructional League. After that, he is scheduled to play Winter Ball.
While he kept himself in baseball shape over the summer by participating in IMG’s wooden bat league, Murphy’s baseball season is about to begin.
“It is,” he said. “I have a couple of busy months ahead of me.”