Athletics

A's prospect Kyler Murray would rather win Heisman Trophy than World Series

A's prospect Kyler Murray would rather win Heisman Trophy than World Series

Hours before winning the Heisman Trophy, Kyler Murray was presented with a hypothetical.

The A's prospect/Oklahoma Sooners quarterback was asked whether he'd rather win a Heisman, or a World Series trophy. A's fans, you might want to look away. 

"I'd rather win a Heisman," Murray said. "I mean, no disrespect to a World Series, but ..."

Can you blame the kid? The 21-year-old became one of just over 80 college football players to win the Heisman, while (at least) 25 players win a World Series every season.  

Still, the answer came days after Murray hinted he was open to exploring an NFL future. 

"I think that's something me and my family will talk about at the end of the season and weigh out the options of what the NFL thinks of me," Murray told ESPN's Tim Tebow. "Right now my future is already kind of planned out, but we'll see what happens."

The A's drafted Murray ninth overall in June's draft, and agent Scott Boras told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser this week that the A's had nothing to worry about. 

“Kyler has every intention of fulfilling his agreement with the A’s, and he’s grateful he has had the chance to pursue his college goals,” Boras told Slusser. “He will be in spring training with the A’s.”

Now that his preferred is checked off his bucket list, maybe Boras' words will ultimately prove correct.

Why A's Matt Chapman could win AL MVP award in 60-game 2020 MLB season

Why A's Matt Chapman could win AL MVP award in 60-game 2020 MLB season

Matt Chapman ranks sky-high among the American League’s best third baseman. The A’s All-Star has won two straight platinum gloves, and was named 2018’s best defensive player regardless of position.

Oh, and the 27-year old can hit a little bit, too.

Chapman slashed .249/.346/.506 in 2019, with 36 home runs and 90 RBI, though his production took a significant dip in the second half. That’s still a quality offensive season, but certainly not in the AL’s elite tier. Still, his combination of offense and stellar glovework left him sixth in MVP voting.

It was three places back of teammate Marcus Semien, a shortstop who had a career year in every phase of the game.

Chapman left that excellent campaign wanting more, especially after hitting just .178 in September and October. He tinkered some with his swing before spring training, with some minor changes he believes will produce better and more consistent results.

“I think it was more mechanical than anything,” Chapman told MLB.com this spring. “I was doing a few things that weren’t giving me the best chance for success,” Chapman said. “I tried to just clean up those few things and I think I’m going to have a better baseline for this season.”

Those who have seen it extensively have great confidence Chapman’s bat will produce even greater dividends.

“The sky is the limit for him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said back in February. “He’s one of the top players in the league and really probably hasn’t had the offensive season that he would like to have at this point. He’s just going to keep getting better. He’s not at his ceiling right now.

“I’ve said often he’ll be in the MVP conversation for years to come.”

Will that be this year, in an odd 60-game season compacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?

There’s no reason why not. Winning the AL MVP will be difficult as long as Mike Trout’s around. There are several worthy candidates in the junior circuit beyond the 28-year old three-time MVP, including a few players on his own team.

[RELATED: Jesús Luzardo: Everything you need to know on A's top pitcher prospect]

Chapman could well get hot early, scorch through a short season and carry the A’s to the playoffs. That’s undoubtedly within the realm of possibility for someone who felt more comfortable with his swing before baseball hit pause over the current public health crisis.

His defense will never rest, shining above the rest in terms of range, arm strength, dynamic playmaking ability and overall consistency.

Spending a solid chunk of his time in the Nos. 2 or 3 spot in the order, typically in front of Matt Olson, should help him get pitches to hit and, if he makes the most of opportunities during this 200-meter sprint of a season, he could be bringing home more than just a defensive award in 2020.

A's add 17-year-old Robert Puason, five others to complete 60-man pool

A's add 17-year-old Robert Puason, five others to complete 60-man pool

The A’s announced the addition of six players to the 60-man player pool on Wednesday ahead of MLB Summer Camp.

Infielder Eric Campbell has been added to the group who will report to Oakland at the Coliseum.

Campbell hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2016 with the New York Mets, when he only hit .173 with nine RBI.

Right-handed pitchers Wandisson Charles and Miguel Romero, outfielders Luis Barrera and Brayan Buelvas and infielder Robert Puason will report to the A’s alternate site. 

Puason, 17, showed a lot of promise practicing in the A’s facility and has speed and fluidity in his defensive capabilities. 

The pool is now set at 60 players.

[RELATED: Projecting A's roster following initial player pool release]

Baseball started feeling back to normal when the A’s traded infielder Jorge Mateo on Tuesday to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later.

The A’s have started to arrive for workouts, which begin on July 4 at the Coliseum and the alternate site.