On Monday, the Oakland Athletics surprised everyone with their first pick, selecting Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray ninth overall. The Sooner’s outfielder was also the backup to Baker Mayfield last season and looks to be their starting quarterback this fall. Murray had a breakout season on the diamond, hitting .296 with 10 homers and 10 stolen bags.
According to Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports, Murray has reached a deal with Oakland for a $5 million signing bonus. The Athletics have agreed to let Murray play football this year, then continue his baseball career after the 2018/19 college football season is over. This is where it gets interesting.
If I was Oakland, there is no way I would let my top pick in the draft risk getting injured playing another sport in the off-season, especially when you just gave him $5 million dollars. I understand that Murray wants to continue his football career, but there’s a point where you need to realize where your future looks more promising. Right now, it’s the baseball field for Kyler Murray. He’s not even a serious NFL prospect at the moment, and there are no guarantees he will turn into one. Murray is very undersized for a quarterback at just 5’10”, and we know that small QB’s aren’t the hottest commodity amongst NFL scouts. It’s also a much safer road physically for Murray choosing baseball.
His skills on the baseball field speak for themselves. He is arguably one of, if not the best athlete to come out of the 2018 draft.
Five Tool player
The biggest reason Kyler Murray was such a high pick in the draft was the rare combination of speed and power. Murray absolutely flies in the outfield and on the basepaths. He’s been clocked at a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash during off-season workouts with the football team, which is extremely quick. He only swiped ten bags this past season with Oklahoma, but he absolutely has the potential to steal 20+ bags at the next level. He’s got a stocky, muscular build at 195 pounds. You can see a little bit of Mike Trout in his game except Murray is shorter in stature. He has lightning quick hands at the plate and has shown the ability to catch up to any fastball with a short, compact stroke. The ball absolutely flies off Murray’s bat, evident by his 10 bombs this year.
Future with the A’s
For the A’s, this is a franchise changing player. This is a guy who can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples because he is so quick. Defensively, he is extremely versatile. He was a middle infielder in high school but played center field with Oklahoma. If the A’s wanted to, they could move him to the infield. Either way, he’s going to be an impact player. In the outfield, he can track down balls in the alleys and he also has a very strong throwing arm. He has natural instincts at shortstop and second base, so he could also play there as well.
All his upside links back to his superior athleticism. The speed will impact his game in every single way, and that’s what makes him such an intriguing player on the diamond. Murray is only 20 years old, which means he does have time to mature and fill out even more. He could be a 20 homer 20 steals a year type of guy at the big league level one day. He’s shown the ability to hit bombs and steal bags this past season in fewer games than he would play in the minors.
Baseball is the future for Murray
Kyler Murray hasn’t even played baseball full time to this point. He’s been a dual athlete in college. If he actually put himself 100 percent into baseball and plays it on a daily basis, he will be that much better and could develop very quickly in the minor leagues. Apparently, Murray has said he will play baseball full time after football season, so if that’s the case, the A’s were smart drafting him with the ninth overall pick because he’ll definitely be worth the investment. Once he focuses on just baseball, I don’t think it will take him long to get to the majors.
In the long run, choosing baseball over football is going to be a better choice for Murray both physically and financially.
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