(SMP Images - Ben Southall)
Blue Jays farmhand Jack Murphy is a big man in Australia, apparently.
Murphy, who caught 59 games for AA New Hampshire this summer, is a fan favourite in Canberra of the Australian Winter League. Murphy made the AFL all-star team as he led the Cavalry to the league championship.
According to the team's website, Cavalry GM Thomas Carter says Murphy's value to the team goes beyond his numbers:
"The core to a winning team is a great catcher. Jack worked very well with pitching staff last year and was a true field general. We were concerned about having to replace him. Staff worked really hard with Jack and the Blue Jays to bring him back. Today's announcement puts us in a great position to win this year."
Murphy, who hit .220/.268/.332 this season, hit .304, with 5 HR and 24 RBI down under last winter, and went 4-7 in the playoffs. He will be joined on the Cavalry by fellow Jays prospects Shane Opitz, Jon Berti, and Michael Crouse from the High A Dunedin Blue Jays.
The AFL plays a 40 game season (mostly on weekends), starting at the end of October, and finishing at the end of January.