Dale Murphy spent the vast majority of his 18-year MLB career in Atlanta, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 1982-83 and making seven All-Star teams. Now a broadcaster for the Braves, Murphy is impressed with the amount of young talent in the organization – and in the game in general.
“Well, obviously I’m with the Braves and we’re going through a little bit of a challenge now, but I like a lot of the young talent with the Braves,” Murphy said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s hard not to like Kris Bryant. It’s hard to not like some of these young Cubs players. I don’t think there’s any question about that. We’re seeing Kershaw do things that are just hard to imagine. I think there’s really some good, good young players. Of course, I think of Harper and Trout. Those are the guys that come to mind. I think this is the youngest that the best players have been in a long time, if not ever. The best players are just really, really young. It’s fun to watch them.”
Atlanta, one of baseball’s most consistent franchises over the last quarter of a century, has struggled in recent years. After winning 96 games in 2013 – their most since winning 101 in 2003 – the Braves have gone from 79 wins to 67 wins and this year are 27-52, which is good enough for the worst record in the National League.
When will the Braves turn things around and start competing again?
“That’s the question,” Murphy said. “It’s always hard to predict, but I think they’re on a good path. You get in trouble when you start saying it’s going to happen this year or that year, but I’d say soon. I’ve seen some of the minor league players. I was in the draft room this year. In baseball, it takes a coupe years before you can really figure out how your draft class was, but I think everybody’s looking at between now and three years. I think everybody would be disappointed if they’re not competitive within that time frame. There’s some guys that are going to show up with some free-agent signings and trades that we don’t even know yet. But the young players they got, there’s going to be some good young ones coming up.”
The Braves’ top prospects include shortstop Dansby Swanson, who was the No. 1 pick of the 2015 draft, second baseman Ozzie Albies and a handful of pitchers.
“That’s the key to baseball,” Murphy said of Atlanta’s farm system. “You got to develop that, and they got quite a few guys coming up.”