Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Kyle Murphy

After hitting .332 with 15 doubles and 16 steals in his senior season with the Kansas Jayhawks, the Rangers selected outfielder Kyle Murphy with their 19th round pick in the draft on Friday afternoon. Lone Star Dugout has an exclusive interview with the speedy centerfielder.

University of Kansas outfielder Kyle Murphy became the Texas Rangers' 19th round selection on Friday afternoon.

Murphy, who spent two years at Kansas, hit .332 with 15 doubles and four home runs as the team's centerfielder and leadoff hitter this past season. He also stole 16 bases in 17 attempts. A senior, Murphy will become the third Kansas Jayhawk in the Rangers' organization after he signs, joining third baseman Travis Metcalf and left-handed pitcher Ryan Knippschild.

Lone Star Dugout spoke with the Beloit, Wisconsin, native shortly after he was drafted on Friday.

Jason Cole: Can you tell me what it means to you to be drafted by the Rangers today?

Kyle Murphy: It was definitely an exciting time. I know there were a lot of teams that had been contacting me, but I was definitely thrilled when I got the call saying that I had become a Texas Ranger.

Cole: Did you get drafted around where you thought you would go?

Murphy: You know, I wasn't too sure. I'd been talking to some people and they were pretty sure that I was going to go on the first day. A lot of guys projected me earlier. But when it comes down to it, it's all about getting an opportunity and I'm just excited to have an opportunity to go through the system and make it to the big leagues some day.

Cole: How much did you know about the Rangers organization before they drafted you today?

Murphy: Not a whole lot. I only talked to them one time. I filled out a lot of information and I talked quite a bit with other teams. It was just a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a scout that had shown interest. He called me and told me they were interested. It was nice to get drafted.

Cole: You said you didn't talk to the Rangers much before the draft, but how much have you talked to them after the draft?

Murphy: The area scout called to congratulate me and he told me that they had selected me in the 19th round. I had a nice conversation with him and he said that he would call me later this evening to work out the details. I'm looking forward to talking to him and finding out all the information.

Cole: As a senior, do you expect to sign pretty quickly?

Murphy: Yeah. I'm eager to play baseball right now. I'm ready to go out there and start my professional career. I'm definitely excited to get to the next stage of my baseball career.

Cole: Where do you expect to go once you do sign with the Rangers?

Murphy: I'm not sure. I guess that's something we're going to discuss tonight. I would think maybe the Rookie level and then hopefully move up from there. But that's all out of my control and all I'm going to do is focus on playing baseball and having a good time. I'm sure all that will work itself out.

Cole: What would you say has been the best moment of your baseball career so far?

Murphy: Obviously playing at the University of Kansas was a great atmosphere and a great experience for me. Winning the Big 12 Tournament last year was definitely a highlight of my baseball career along with going to the Junior College World Series when I was at Indian Hills Junior College. That was definitely a highlight of my career as well. I've been fortunate to be on a lot of winning teams throughout my years. This year was actually one of my first where we didn't have a winning season. But I've been fortunate to be on a lot of winning teams, so it feels like I've had a lot of highlights.

Cole: Were you happy with the way you performed this year?

Murphy: Yeah, I thought I had a really good year. There were a lot of question marks after my junior year where I didn't play the best that I thought I could have. I went into the year just wanting to enjoy the game of baseball and take my mind off stats and everything. I knew that if I just focused on enjoying it and working hard, the rest would take care of itself. This year it really seemed to happen that way. I just enjoyed playing baseball and I enjoyed being around my teammates. The stats really seemed to take care of themselves.

Cole: Can you talk about your approach at the plate? What type of hitter are you?

Murphy: I'm a guy that can spray the ball to the gaps. I'm a guy that will run into one once in awhile. This year I was a leadoff hitter and I was able to get on base and steal bases. I'm just looking to get on base. I'm mostly looking to spray the ball from gap-to-gap.

Cole: You were thrown out stealing just once in 17 tries this year. Can you talk about the importance of using your speed to your advantage both on the bases and in the field?

Murphy: It's definitely a huge factor in my game. I look to steal bases and obviously it's a benefit when I'm playing centerfield. That's something that I'm continually working on to improve. It is a huge part of my game and I'm excited to bring that factor to the Rangers organization.

Cole: How do you feel playing in a league like the Big 12 will prepare you for professional baseball?

Murphy: I guess I'm not sure because I haven't stepped into that realm yet, but after talking to other guys that got drafted, I have to believe it's very similar. I think playing in the Big 12 was great preparation for me to go through a schedule like that. There weren't very many weekends where you aren't facing top caliber pitching. For me to walk into the professional level knowing that I've faced a lot of the higher picks in this year's draft, I definitely feel that I can step in and be a contributor.

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