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MLB Draft 2018: Oakland A’s select Kyler Murray with No. 9 overall pick

The two-sport star plays outfield and quarterback for University of Oklahoma.

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s selected Kyler Murray with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The 20-year-old is an outfielder from the University of Oklahoma.

After taking a high school player with their top pick last year, the A’s return to the college ranks this time around. Murray was a two-sport athlete in college, also playing quarterback on the football team. Click here to read more about Oakland’s recent 1st-round selections.

Here’s a scouting report on Murray from MLB Pipeline:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 70 | Arm: 40 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

The best athlete in the 2015 Draft, Murray drew first-round interest from several clubs but opted out of the process because he was also the nation’s top-rated dual threat quarterback prospect and wanted to play football and baseball at Texas A&M. Despite playing regularly as a freshman for the Aggies, he opted to transfer to Oklahoma, where he had to sit out 2016 before backing up Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield last fall. After looking overmatched at the plate in his return to baseball with the Sooners last spring and in the Cape Cod League last summer, he has shown dramatic improvement as a redshirt sophomore.

Though he continues to juggle two sports and has lost a lot of at-bats while doing so, Murray has made impressive adjustments at the plate. He’s making better contact and no longer is easy prey for breaking balls, doing a better job of recognizing them and not chasing them off the plate. He has the plus-plus speed to create havoc on the bases and the bat speed and strength to produce average power.

The son of former Texas A&M quarterback and Brewers farmhand Kevin Murray and the nephew of two-time first-rounder and five-year big leaguer Calvin Murray, Kyler still needs to reduce his strikeouts further and is a work in progress defensively. He’s learning reads and routes but has the quickness to outrun his mistakes and eventually could become at least a solid center fielder. His arm has regressed on the diamond and currently plays below average.

With his tools and the surprising progress he has made in 2018, Murray once again is in position to command a multimillion-dollar bonus. However, it may be virtually impossible to get him to give up football when he’s a leading contender to helm one of college football’s top offenses. He’ll turn 21 shortly after the Draft and needs to get going with his baseball career if that’s going to be his future.

On the MLB Network broadcast, Harold Reynolds cited Murray as his top prospect in the entire draft. The analysts also noted the possibility that he may still play football this fall in Oklahoma before hanging up those cleats and moving permanently to baseball. (Click here to watch the full MLB Network segment.) The uncertainty about the direction of his future led him to be absent or low on many pre-draft boards, and MLB Pipeline had him all the way down at No. 36. Here are a couple links with more in-depth looks at Murray:

There are lots of questions about this surprising pick, but one thing is certain: Murray is a top-notch athlete.