The Oakland Athletics have effectively busted everyone’s mock MLB drafts by taking the University of Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray as the No. 9 overall pick Monday night.
Why? Because Murray, a 5-foot-10 outfielder, was Baker Mayfield’s backup at Oklahoma last season — and will reportedly play at least another season of football as OU’s starting quarterback — before focusing on baseball.
Murray, who turns 21 in August, hit .296 with 13 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, for a total of 47 RBI in 51 games in 2018. He also racked up a .398 OBP and slugged .556 in 51 games. In 2017, he only got 49 at-bats. He bats righty and throws lefty.
During 2017 summer league play, Murray played 16 games for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod Baseball League. There, he hit a pair of doubles, one home run, and stole four bases. He also has enough power to golf baseballs out of the park:
Top-level talent in two sports
As a quarterback, Murray was a highly-recruited prospect. He began his career at Texas A&M and made three starts in 2015 for the Aggies before transferring to Oklahoma, where he was the backup for Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 NFL draft pick. Few projected him going in the first round of the MLB draft, not for lack of baseball prowess, but because of his reluctance to give up football.
The A’s can offer him $4,761,500. By taking Murray this early in the draft, it seems like the Oakland front office might know something we don’t about Murray’s intent to become a career baseball player. However, what the front office risks is Murray getting hurt on the football field before switching back to baseball for good.
Murray’s situation is not entirely unprecedented. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was drafted in the third round in 2012, and played minor league baseball for two seasons.
Regardless of what Murray picks, we can still marvel at his insane arm:
However, though scouts say he has the potential to be a college football star, they also say his success might end there, in part due to his size.
The A’s – who are no stranger bold moves – have certainly taken a gamble, and Murray will now face a decision that most of us could only dream of.
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