In the our Stealth Bomber series, we talk to players in the farm system who aren’t yet on the New York radar, but hope one day to be so.

Before his game Monday against the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants Class A Affiliate), Charleston Riverdogs catcher and Yankees’ 2009 second-round draft pick JR Murphy entered the dojo of NoMaas’ Sensei John Kreese. The 20-year old Murphy is raking this season to the tune of .321/.366/.502. We discussed his hot hitting and much more with JR, who won our 2nd MLPW Award of 2011.

Sensei John Kreese: You’ve been killing it this season. What’s been the secret to your success between this year and last year?

JR Murphy: Just came into spring training this year feeling more comfortable — knowing all the staff, all the coaches, all the players. I had a good spring training and I’m on a roll right now. I’m seeing the ball better and just playing well.

SJK: I was looking at your stats and noticed that you were intentionally walked this season. Are you getting the Barry Bonds treatment already?

JR: Haha. No, I think it was a situation where the pitcher was 3-0 on me, and there was a runner on second and first base was open. So they just put me on.

SJK: We interviewed Slade Heathcott about a month and a half ago, and he’s in a similar situation to you, with him showing big improvement over last season. He told us that the Yankees made adjustments to his hitting approach last year and they didn’t work, so he went back to his old approach, and everything is clicking. Did something similar happen with you?

JR: Not really. Right when I got drafted, they made it clear that hitting wasn’t their main concern with me, it was more of the defensive side. I’ve talked to plenty of guys about my hitting, but no adjustments have really been made. It’s more about maintaining what I already do. It’s been on the defensive side.

SJK: Slade also said that you “just know how to hit.” You hear that a lot in baseball. It’s very cliché, but what do you think he means by that? How would you describe yourself as a hitter?

JR: Hitting comes naturally to me, but it’s funny that Slade said that. He’s my roommate. But, I still have to work at it. Sometimes I get anxious up there and swing at lousy pitches. But, I believe my pitch recognition is getting better. I’m maturing as a hitter. I’m becoming more of a professional hitter.

SJK: One of the aspects of your game that is really jumping off is your power. You already have more doubles than all of last season, and you’re only 1 home run away from equaling last year’s total. Did you eat your Wheaties or something this offseason?

JR: Haha. I think a lot of it has to do with being more comfortable coming into Spring Training. I also hit the gym in the offseason to get stronger.

SJK: It’s no secret that the Yankees farm system has a heavy crop of catchers. Do you ever think about your future in the organization because of that?

JR: I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t. Everyone knows that the Yankees have lots of good catchers in the system. But the only thing I can control is how I perform. I don’t view it as a competition with other guys. I can only control how I play.

SJK: Does it ever weigh on you guys [minor leaguers] that since the Yankees set the bar so high with basically All-Stars at every position that it’s difficult to crack the Bronx?

JR: My dream is to play for the New York Yankees. About 90% of minor leaguers would say the same thing. But as a minor leaguer, you want to play in the bigs one day. That’s the goal.

SJK: In prospect circles, there’s talk of you moving positions. In fact, unless I’m mistaken, you’ve played four games at 3B this season. What’s your situation there and are you open to a position change?

JR: Yeah, I’ve played a handful of games at third. My preference is to catch, but I’m very open to trying other positions. If playing another position creates opportunities for me either with the Yankees or another organization, then I’m very open to it.

SJK: You were primarily an OF in high school and made the transition to catcher later on, right?

JR: Actually, no. I starting catching my sophomore year and then had knee surgery my junior year. Then I split time between the OF, 3B, and C when I came back from surgery.

SJK: Any other guys in Charleston that impress you?

JR: We’re really loaded with talent, although I don’t think we’re playing up to our capabilities yet. Slade can do things I haven’t really seen before. And Kyle Roller and Rob Segedin have really professional approaches at the plate.

SJK: Alright, JR, that’s all I got. Good luck the rest of the year and we hope to talk to you again soon. Keep killing it.

JR: Alright, man. Don’t jinx me. Good talking to you.

Many thanks to JR for hanging with NoMaas and we wish him the best of luck. You can follow JR and the rest of the Class-A Charleston Riverdogs at their official website.