Coach Pat Murphy Chat Wrap

Jan. 28, 2002

Pat Murphy: (2:04 PM ET ) Hi, this is coach Murphy here, start your questions for me!

Jack (Gig Harbor, Wash.): Coach Murphy, first of all, good luck this season. How important is it to have a tough schedule for the season when it comes to postseason play? Thanks and go Sun Devils.

Pat Murphy: (2:05 PM ET ) Jack, that is the only kind of schedule to play. You have to play the best to be the best. It is not about the best record, but playing against the very best and beating the very best. When it comes to postseason play and the selection process, a tough schedule is a must.

Brett (Los Angeles): You have a young team, but as you look around the Pac-10, youth seems to characterize the majority of the teams. How do you see your team matching up against other conference teams such as Stanford or Southern California?

Pat Murphy: (2:06 PM ET ) We have less experience than those two teams, but experience isn't the only factor in being a championship team. We have high expectations for our team when we play those two teams. USC and Stanford are both excellent this year and feature a lot of talent.

Brian(Erie, PA): Is it a safer bet for MLB teams to pick a college pitcher than to groom their own from the start?

Pat Murphy: (2:07 PM ET ) I think statistics show that a majority of pitchers that spend more than five years in the majors come from college baseball. That isn't always the case, but I think the college experience grooms a player to become more mature and learn more about themselves.

Chris, Phoenix, AZ: Hey Coach. Can you schedule Mississippi State in the next couple of years? I miss my Dawgs and that looks like a really good Pac 10/SEC match up.

Pat Murphy: (2:08 PM ET ) It is a great idea and we have already conacted Ron Polk. We are interested in playing Mississippi State at anytime, any place and would love to start the rivalry.

Brian (Erie, PA): How hard of a transition is it from college to the professionals for players?

Pat Murphy: (2:10 PM ET ) I don't think it is a hard transition because it is the same game, and if you have the talent to play at the college level, then you can succeed at the next level. I constantly have players thank me and the program for playing at such a high level because it helped them prepare for the next level.

NorCalDevil (San Jose, CA): Best of luck this season. Who are the new players you think will contribute the most this season. Anyone in particular we should keep our eyes on?

Pat Murphy: (2:11 PM ET ) Dustin Pedroia from Woodland, Calif., is a real winner and will start at second base. Our shortstop, Ian Kinsler, outfielder Andre Ethier and pitchers Miguel Sanchez and Robbie McClellan will all help us out greatly.


Pat Murphy: (2:12 PM ET ) It will be a very special time for me to go back to Notre Dame and it will be a great series. Ryan McKenna will be a fourth outfielder and is a very trustworthy player. Sopko is a guy we will look to out of the bullpen and needs a bit of refinement, but will contribute this year.

Mike (Los Angeles, CA): Obviously, Esposito has gotten has gotten a lot of publicity in terms of the pitching staff. Who else do you see contributing this year, and, specifically, who do you see as your other weekend starters?

Pat Murphy: (2:13 PM ET ) Esposito is our Friday night guy, but Ryan Schroyer, Bryce Kartler, Miguel Sanchez and Robbie McClellan are also right in there. Espo has really proven that he is a tough pitcher and can compete as the highest level.

Smirfdog / Canton Ohio: I hear Eric O'brien is back at Kent State , I'm glad to see him back but was surprised to hear he left ASU. Any insight?

Pat Murphy: (2:15 PM ET ) Eric came here and is a great young man and he is a better fit at Kent State. We wish him the best of luck and we have a ton of respect for him.

Jim from Central Islip: Over the past few years there has been a disregard on ASU's part to retain supporters that have been with the program since the 1960's? What can you do Coach Murphy to bring disenchanted fans back, especially playing away from campus this year?

Pat Murphy: (2:17 PM ET ) I think we haven't purposely run off disenchanted fans, and we always welcome back the supporters from the past back to our program. Our attendance is constantly on the rise and we want to do everything we can to bring back those fans. With a tough schedule playing against the best in the nation, I hope fans will want to come out and see us play. Hohokam Park is also a great facility that I am confident fans will love.

Jeff (Boston): How do you foresee the catching position this season? It will be tough to replace a guy like Casey Myers, but I know there are several talented candidates and was wondering who has stood out so far.

Pat Murphy: (2:18 PM ET ) Tuffy Gosewisch, a freshman, will be our starter, and Joel Bocchi is another freshman who will contend for time. Cesar Castillo is solid and will catch in the late innings and Dennis Wyrick will ease into the position throughout the year. Wyrick will be a catcher in professional baseball.

NorCalDevil (San Jose, CA): Obviously ASU has strong rivalries with a lot of Pac-10 teams. Which non-conference program do you consider ASU's biggest rival? Also, which non-conference series this season are you most looking forward to?

Pat Murphy: (2:20 PM ET ) I think we have a number of non-conference rivals, but the teams like Cal State Fullerton, LSU, Florida State, Tennessee, are all rivals because we are always in the national rankings. Those are all great series and always bring out the best in college baseball.

Pat Murphy: (2:20 PM ET ) As far the non-conference series I am looking forward to most this year, well, that is a tough question. They are all tough, but going to Florida State will be a great series and playing at Notre Dame will be very special for me.

Bill (Boston): I have a close connection with Aaron Klusman, and I was excited to see him have some success last year. What do you foresee his role being this season?

Pat Murphy: (2:22 PM ET ) Kluey will be a reliever and could slip into the closer role. He is a great young man and a real icon of what this program is all about.

Lubbock: Will Bob Welch join your coaching staff?

Pat Murphy: (2:23 PM ET ) Welchie will not be part of our coaching staff this year, but he is a dear friend of mine and is a very close friend of the program.


Pat Murphy: (2:24 PM ET ) I am very involved in the recruiting process, and I work closely with Jay Sferra and Mike Rooney, who are my assistant coaches. We all have our roles and come together to decide on which players we want to join our program. It is a 365-days a year job.

To get noticed, send us a tape or a letter and we will get back to you. We answer every letter.

Moderator: (2:25 PM ET ) Time for two more questions... then coach Murphy has to head out to practice.

Brett (Colorado): Do you stay in contact with former players such as Darren Schmalz, Ryan Topham and/or Tim Kraus from Notre Dame?

Pat Murphy: (2:25 PM ET ) The greatest part of my job is staying in touch with my former players. It gives me great pride to follow them. I have stayed in touch with all three and have great respect for all of them.

Pat Murphy: (2:26 PM ET ) Not a day goes by where I don't talk to at least one former player.

Jeff (Boston): Jeremy West showed good power potential last year, but he didn't get many at-bats toward the end of the season. What type of improvement are you looking for out of him and can we expect him to be an everyday player this season?

Pat Murphy: (2:27 PM ET ) Jeremy West will be our everyday first baseman and will hit cleanup. He has the potential to be a great power hitter and learned a lot about hitting last year.

Pat Murphy: (2:27 PM ET ) Thanks for all of your great questions. Be sure to follow us all season long on or come out to Hohokam Park in Mesa to catch some games.
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