The Tale of the Tape: Two Pitchers Who Left their Mark in the USPBL

Donny Murray, a product of Walpole, Massachusetts is the Utica Unicorns ace and the winning pitcher of the first ever USPBL Championship game in 2016. Randy Wynne, born in San Diego, California, is the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers number one guy in the rotation and he is the winning pitcher of the second ever USPBL Championship. The two have faced each other so often in the two USPBL seasons that it’s developed into an unspoken rivalry that is beginning to spark interest.

Inside the Matchup:

Dating back to Opening Week of the 2016 USPBL Inaugural Season, the two have faced each other head-to-head 10 times. Some games far more meaningful than others but nonetheless these two have seen each other quite a bit. However, the familiarity hasn’t seemed to contribute to the rest of the team’s success against these pitchers. Donny Murray has held the Beavers to a .204 opponent batting average when facing Wynne and has only allowed only 16 runs in 54 innings pitched. Wynne on the other hand has excelled in the walks to strikeouts ratio as he has rung up 44 batters while walking just four in the 49.1 innings pitched over that span. The record is even between them at (3-3) and a few no decisions linger in there for both.

Below is the stat comparison between the two right-handers in their head to head meetings.

Wynne & Murray Head to Head stats.png

Memorable Meetings:

May 11th, 2017: Opening day kicked off with the two in a battle picking up from when they last met in the Championship the previous year. Wynne was perfect for 3.1 innings of work but was plagued by a three-run fourth inning for the Unicorns. Murray finished off the game with his first win of the season as he recorded five shutout innings and allowed just two hits.

July 20th, 2017: The two showed the progress they have made in being able to elongate their starts and still have effective pitches. The two met for the 10th time against each other and it was Randy Wynne who triumphed a victory for his team. Wynne went a solid eight innings, allowing just two runs with no walks and sevenpunch-outs. In the 97 pitches he threw, 74 were thrown for strikes. Murray finished seven innings allowing four runs and only two of those earned.

September 11th, 2016: The two aces met in the first USPBL Championship Game seeking the first ever ring for their team. Wynne and Murray battled but the Beavers offense that was so prominent in the regular season couldn’t get the bats going. Randy was left with no run support as Murray out battled the Beavers and kept them silent for 5.2 innings. Earning the Championship win, he struck out seven batters and again allowed no walks. Wynne’s final line was 5.2 innings, two runs, no walks and five strikeouts. Winning pitcher Murray went 5.2 as well allowing just five hits, no walks and seven strikeouts.

July 10th, 2016: In arguably the most memorable game the USPBL has seen, Donny Murray recorded the first ever no-hitter against the Beavers. Murray was untouchable that game, as he was locked in from the first pitch. He finished the game with 118 pitches and struck out 13 Beavers. This was a turning point in his career and exposed to the league what he was capable of. Wynne was used in the bullpen in this game as the Beavers were overpowered by the valiant effort of Donny Murray.

June 19th, 2016: In the first meeting the two ever had against each other, it was only respectable that it ended in a no decision. Both pitchers threw four innings and allowed two runs apiece. The game was turned to the bullpen after that in which the Beavers held on for the 10-7 victory. The box score wasn’t ideal for Wynne and Murray but set the relative standard for how these meetings were going to be. Both pitchers threw 72 pitches that game - 49 strikes for Wynne, 47 for Murray. Control remains a huge piece to why these two have solidified the number one spot for their team and continue to dominate on the mound.

Sharing the Success:

The command of pitches has been the key to both of these pitchers as they sit atop the league in strike throwing percentage. Not walking many batters and being able to attack the hitter in favorable counts has worked well for them. Executing this game plan has been due large in part to the progress the two have made in the DVS. With a higher DVS score for both of them since their arrival into the league, both have made adjustments that are apparent in their mechanics as well as the results. “DVS is a great tool to use a pitcher because it shows you how to be more efficient in your delivery. I’ve made a few adjustments that have helped me be a little more powerful when I throw,” Wynne said as he credits DVS for helping him discover his top form. Wynne has had to make these adjustments as well as find the confidence on the mound that was present in the 2016 season, which helped lead the Beavers to the best record in the league. “I had such a great support system last year with Ray Ortega behind the plate and Rich Donnelly in the dugout that I didn’t have to think very much on the field. I just had to execute their game plan and we would bealright.” Certain obstacles like the changing of catchers have given Randy a less comforting approach this season and have demanded him to make adjustments to have success on the mound. He has responded well and has put together an impressive sophomore season that has increased attention of him playing at the next level.

Donny Murray had much more of an aggressive modification of his pitching delivery when first appearing in the USPBL. DVS was critical in his development in the league as they noticed a few minor errors in his delivery that were holding him back from his maximum potential. Murray adopted a “rocker-step” delivery, which allows him to use his whole body and to ultimately gain that extra bit of leverage to increase his velocity. These adjustments have allowed Murray to go further into the game without putting stress on the arm and losing his velocity late in the game. Murray was with the Frontier League prior to the USPBL but was released for something he has excelled in with the USPBL; going deep into the game. “I couldn’t sustain my velocity past the fourth or fifth inning. My mechanics didn’t have any rhythm, and in turn they put a lot of stress on my arm causing my stuff to fizzle out early in game,” Murray noted. In a recent start Murray hit 91 mph in the eighth inning, exposing his endurance on the mound. He has continued his work in DVS to find the most efficient methods for him on the mound and to continue having effective outings.

Future Outlook:

Both Murray and Wynne are nominees for the USPBL Pitcher of the Year award for the 2017 season and are proving there is something manifesting these achievements. Most recently, Wynne now shares the feeling of being the winning pitcher of a USPBL Championship game. Wynne was stellar in his performance throwing a complete game allowing just three hits and setting a USPBL strikeout record. Wynne was much more content with controlling the game rather than setting the records as he had his fastball active and efficient through the entire game. His velocity never dropped and he never showed signs of wear on his arm. He also set the USPBL record with 14 strikeouts in one game. His final line was nine innings, just three hits, one walk and of course the eye opening 14 strikeouts.

Murray recently altered the record books, only to beat out his own record. For the second consecutive year Murray has led the USPBL in strikeouts in a single season. He finished the 2017 season with 114 strikeouts, surpassing his 82 total in the 2016 season.

The competition between them has yet to disappoint and both have future goals of playing at the next level. “As for my future in baseball, I still hope to sign to affiliated ball and one day throw against big league hitters in the show,” Wynne said. “My goal for the rest of the season is to put together a good second half and lead the Beavers to their first Championship ring,” he added. Wynne has been a product of his work ethic and the leadership he has shown he first had to be led. Manager Chris Newell of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers has been with him every step of the way, trusting in him in times when it mattered most. There is no doubt when he is on themound something exciting is bound to happen. It has and will continue, as he now has successfully led his team to a USPBL Championship.

Speaking on his future with the USPBL, Murray said, “In my eyes, this won’t be a successful season unless I sign with an affiliated team. I’ve worked hard to improve as a pitcher and dominate week in and out, and I plan on finishing this season doing the same.” Much like Wynne, Murray is an electrifying performer but it’s their work outside the game that puts them in a position to be so dominant. “We are still working towards building more efficient mechanics. I am hugely appreciative to DVS for their help in my success. I know these improvements have been a key part of my success in the USPBL, and I fully expect them to be a key to getting me into affiliated baseball,” Murray added.

The two now head into the offseason with a common goal, to reach their max potential. A combination of unforgettable moments and tireless work has engulfed their careers in the USPBL and now they are ready to make that next step. Their future is bright in baseball and their development has been the indicator that they are moving in the right direction. But for both Wynne and Murray, this isn’t the end goal they want more. Just by the way these to compete head to head the intensity and the desire to win is clear. Now that they share a USPBL Title, these two have made a statement on the league and allowed for all to see that they are what the record books say.

-Tyler