Prep Baseball Report

2022 PBR Illinois Player of the Year: RHP/INF Owen Murphy

By Maddox Durst & Andy Sroka
Illinois Staff

For the second straight season, Riverside-Brookfield’s RHP/INF Owen Murphy (2022; Notre Dame commit) has won the PBR Illinois Player of the Year award. Murphy managed to improve upon his 2021 season statistics – somehow – to record an historic season that can only be described as utterly dominant.

The No. 35-ranked senior in the nation is the second player to repeat as our Player of the Year (
Matt McCormick, St. Laurence; 2018-19).

This past spring, Murphy raised his batting average from .463 to .564 between his junior and senior seasons, respectively. During the 2022 season, Murphy tallied 53 hits, 75 RBIs, and 56 runs scored in 33 games – and he slugged a whopping 18 home runs total. Those 75 RBIs tied for the second most all-time in a single IHSA season, too, alongside the 2011 PBR Illinois Player of the Year Sam Travis (Providence Catholic, 2011). And only 10 other players have hit more than 18 homers in one IHSA season, to further illustrate how potent Murphy’s bat was in 2022.


These power numbers resulted in a massive 2.028 OPS and a slugging percentage of 1.351. Murphy, naturally, was carefully pitched to and, thus, he earned 34 walks on the spring and struck out just six times all season, good for an OBP of .667. He averaged just under six walks per every strikeout during his triumphant senior spring.

And while Murphy’s gaudy offensive statistics warrant POTY consideration on their own, it’s his work from the mound that highlight just how untouchable he was in his final season as a prep player. In 2021, Murphy punched out 97 batters in 42.1 innings and ended the spring with an ERA of 0.33. Yet, in 2022, the Notre Dame recruit incredulously topped those stats. In 16 more innings pitched, Murphy punched out 137 batters total and allowed just one earned run on the season to finish the spring with a 0.14 ERA. 

He hit eight more home runs than hits he allowed.

You could choose from virtually any of his starts to help illustrate how overpowering his outings are, but his perfect game against the eventual Class 2A state champs Joliet Catholic Academy on April 27 particularly underscores how little it mattered which team opposed Murphy on any given day. In that start, Murphy struck out 18 of the 21 batters he faced in an immaculate outing on just 88 pitches. He was also 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs from the plate in the 3-0 win.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander threw five complete games, four shutouts, and four no-hitters, two of which were perfect games. He’s continued to gain MLB Draft momentum over the course of the past year or so, and this spring jolted him up boards, reportedly. Murphy’s uptick in velocity – flashing highs of 96 mph at times, including in front of our own staff – has only complemented his high-spin fastball that was already missing bats with lesser velo. Mix in a polished four-pitch arsenal with legitimate command for a player his age (0.24 WHIP), and Murphy is as complete a pitching prospect that Illinois has conjured in recent memory.

Within Riverside-Brookfield’s record books, Murphy finished his career as the program’s all-time career leader in home runs, RBIs, shutouts, and no-hitters – and this is without playing the canceled 2020 spring season.

Whether this time next year Murphy is repping Notre Dame in the College World Series, or he’s playing professional baseball somewhere within an MLB organization, we’re eager to follow Murphy’s career continue to unfold as he represents the best of Illinois high school baseball along the way.

PBR Illinois Player of the Year, Past Winners:

+ 2021: Owen Murphy, RHP/INF, Riverside-Brookfield

+ 2019Matt McCormick, C/RHP, St. Laurence HS

+ 2018Matt McCormick, C/RHP, St. Laurence HS

2017Cole Kmet, LHP/OF, Saint Viator HS

2016Mike Madej, 2B, Providence Catholic HS

2015Bryan Hudson, LHP, Alton HS

2014Jake Latz, LHP, Lemont HS

2013Ryne Roper, SS/RHP, Harrisburg HS

2012Zack Weigel, OF/LHP, Oak Park-River Forest HS

2011Sam Travis, 3B, Providence Catholic HS

2010Shane Conlon, LHP/1B, Naperville Central HS

2009Nick Tindall, C, O'Fallon HS

2008Jake Odorizzi, RHP/SS, Highland HS

2007: Jake Smolinski, SS/RHP, Rockford Boylan HS

2006: Connor Powers, 1B, Benet Academy HS

2005: Michael Bowden, RHP/3B, Waubonsie Valley HS