With the 291st pick of the 2022 MLB Draft, the Washington Nationals selected Texas Longhorns redshirt senior third baseman Murphy Stehly in the 10th round on Monday.
A California native, Stehly spent his first two seasons of college baseball playing at Orange Coast College for the late John Altobelli, longtime friends with Texas head coach David Pierce, who was introduced to Stehly while recruiting another Orange Coast College prospect.
“Alto and I talked, and he said, ‘what do you think of my shortstop?’” Pierce said. “I thought he’s a nice player. He goes, ‘I think he can help you.’ I said ‘Mike, I don’t need a shortstop, but you know what? Let’s bring him in with the other player.’ Usually when you bring a player in, you’re bringing him in with an offer and I didn’t have an offer for Murph.”
In the shortened 2020 season, Stehly started 12 games, seven games at second base and five games at third base, batting .256 with three multi-hit games in the season’s final week. The following season, Stehly was a valuable utility player for the Longhorns, starting games at shortstop and designated hitter in addition to playing second base and third base. At the plate, he improved, hitting .294.
In 2022, Stehly profiled as a utility player once again, but he quickly took control of the designated hitter role before filling in for right fielder Austin Todd after Todd suffered a shoulder injury early in the season. Stehly ultimately started all 68 games and was outstanding at the plate, batting .367 with 19 home runs and 61 RBI even though he entered the season with one home run in his previous two seasons at Texas.
Pitcher Tristan Stevens credited Stehly’s breakout success to the best work ethic he’s seen.
“I just feel like the kid is getting what he deserves,” Pierce said. “You talk about kids who get in trouble, and ‘well it’s going to catch up to him. He’s getting what he deserves.’ I look at Murph, and everything he’s done since he walked into the building here, how he’s put the work in, how he’s built routines, and how he’s listened to his coaches, he’s getting what he deserves.”
Despite Stehly’s age just several months short of turning 24 years old, his ability to play three positions and serve as a designated hitter thanks to his quick hands to pitches on the inside part of the plate have afforded him a shot at a professional career.