Baseball Betsy and I were fortunate to watch a bunch of Clearwater Threshers game last year. Two right handed power bats stood out in those games, catcher Cameron Rupp and first baseman/designated hitter Jim Murphy. You see the ball does not carry very well in the Florida State League. It has been rated in a recent study as the most difficult full season league to hit home runs in all of minor league baseball. Still Rupp hit ten homers and Jim Murphy hit 17 out of the parks of the FSL with the Clearwater Thresher in 2012.
It’s expected that both Rupp and Murphy will provide a lot of right handed power at AA this season. In Monday’s AA game against the Yankees Murphy hit one out of Schmidt Field. In the first week of the minor league camp it was reported that Rupp had three homers including two in one game. It seems every game I have seen Rupp play in camp he has hit the ball hard as he did in Monday’s game with a double. If these guys hit 10 and 17 long balls respectively in the Florida State League last year, I can see no reason why they can not hit even more homers at Reading this year. I recall a right-handed bat,, Tagg Bozied hitting 26 home runs several year back at Reading and 20 of them were at Reading’s First Energy Stadium. Darin Ruf hit 38 homers last year with Reading after hitting only 17 the year before for Clearwater. If memory serve he hit 19 at home and 19 on the road. Even left handed bat Cody Asche hit only two homers in the first half of the season with the Threshers last year and then hit ten homers in the second half with the then Reading Phillies.
I have seen both Rupp and Murphy hit long balls at Clearwater to left center and right center field at Brighthouse in 2012 but for the most part I saw even more balls that just die in the dead air. Even well hit balls just do not carry all that much in the heat, humidity and cross winds the keep most long balls in the parks of the Florida State League. It’s a different story in Reading where the power alleys are small and short plus the wind seems always blowing out. After watching Rupp and Murphy last year and so far this year in the minor league camp games they should be ready to hit quite a few more bombs at AA than they did with the Threshers last year.