Murray’s hometown baseball team, the Texas Rangers, would have been just as surprised as the A’s.
In talking about evaluating two-sport stars such as Murray, Rangers senior director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg recalled the process of evaluating Bubba Thompson, a standout quarterback in high school that the Rangers took in the first-round of the 2017 draft (and is now at High A Down East).
“We did our work on Kyler,” Fagg said during a pre-draft news conference on Thursday.
“I don’t really want to speak on that specifically, but as far as a two-sport guy, Bubba was that way and there were people that thought Bubba was going to play football. But just the relationship you have, the knowledge you get in getting to know the kid, the family, the people that are important to them, you can come to a conclusion on that. I knew Bubba wanted to play baseball.”
Fagg paused, smiled and added: “I thought Kyler did, too. ... I shouldn’t say that.”
Murray signed a contract with the A’s that guaranteed him about $5 million with the stipulation that Murray could play one more year of football at the University of Oklahoma.
Well, Murray turned that football season into a Heisman Trophy season, and became the No. 1 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals last month.
Nobody -- not the A’s, not even the Rangers -- saw that coming this time last year.
The A’s selected Murray coming off a season in which he batted .296 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 51 games for the Sooners in 2018. He went on to have a solid showing in the Cape Cod Summer League.
But Murray put up even more impressive numbers on the football field to win the Heisman, and decided to follow his true passion of football.
The A’s and MLB executives tried to persuade Murray to stay with baseball, but he spurned it all.
Time will tell whether he made the right call.