After making the obvious selection with power bat Justin Smoak in the first round, the Rangers quickly turned their attention to the draft's arms. The club selected pitchers – two left-handed and one right-handed – in rounds two through four.
When the Rangers picked in the fifth round, they turned their attention back to the power bats by drafting California high school outfielder Clark Murphy.
Murphy is best known for his plus raw power, which he displayed at the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic in San Diego – near his hometown of Fallbrook – last August. The slugger placed second in the contest.
Lone Star Dugout was able to speak with the Rangers' fifth round selection on Friday afternoon.
Jason Cole: What did it feel like to be drafted by the Rangers?
Clark Murphy: It was amazing. The Rangers were my first choice team I wanted to go to. It was a pretty hectic 30 or 40 minutes or however long I spent on the phone there. It started off, I was projected maybe third or fourth round.
I slipped through to the fifth round and then all of the sudden Mr. Flores, my area scout, called me up and said ‘we want to take you in the fifth round'. Then he gave me the number of what the fifth round slot was. Then I said ‘can I get what I wanted to get?' He said he was going to talk to his guys and see. Then I called my dad and told him. I was actually at my high school graduation. I wasn't even home, so it was pretty hectic.
By that time the Marlins called me and said they wanted to take me a couple of picks earlier than that. I asked the same thing and they called me back sooner and said they can't do it. Then Mr. Flores called me up and said he can't do it and then he asked me what my bare minimum was. I told him that and then he said ‘ok, I'm going to tell them that. If that's your number, that's your number. That's what we'll get you at.' Then I just waited for him to call me back, I got the call, and he said ‘kid, you're a Ranger.' My dad was calling me already telling me I was a Texas Ranger. That is when it hit me.
Cole: Since you guys have already talked about money quite a bit, would you say there is a pretty good chance that you'll be signing with the Rangers?
Murphy: Oh, definitely. Definitely. That's my goal – to sign.
Cole: Obviously you talked to the Rangers quite a bit yesterday, but leading up to the draft, how much contact did you have with them?
Murphy: A tremendous amount. Mr. Flores was really good to me. He spent a lot of time working with me and just being there for me.
Cole: Give me a little bit of a scouting report on you at the plate. Can you talk about your approach and what you're trying to do when you're hitting?
Murphy: Probably what they've got on me is a very inconsistent hitter. I think a lot of that probably has to do with the fact that my performance had been not very good due to an injury. I had a bad quad and I probably shouldn't have ever played. But I feel now that I'm healthy and that I'm going to really succeed.
I have made some adjustments and I have a better approach now. I'm staying shorter and staying quieter. I'm just finding my pitch and being able to hit that and not miss it. I'm really excited to get started in pro ball.
Cole: Part of the scouting report that goes around on you is that you have quite a bit of power. Has that new approach caused you to sacrifice power for becoming a better contact hitter?
Murphy: Actually it has increased because I'm not hitting the ball out to left field more consistently. This year I had 12 home runs and six of them were opposite field. I only had 78 at-bats because I got walked 35 times.
Cole: Do you have any experience with a wood bat?
Murphy: Oh yeah. In my spare time, I always usually hit with a wood bat. Even during high school I would take my wood to the cage. I like to hit with wood better.
Cole: How much of a difference is there for you between a wood and metal bat?
Murphy: Just the fact that you can't cheat with a wood bat. You don't get away with anything either. If you don't square up on it, then you break your bat basically. With a metal bat, there is not as much weight in the barrel. So some people have a quicker bat. Personally I prefer a big barrel, a big heavy barrel with a loaded feel. I like swinging wood better than metal.
Cole: What are your thoughts on your performance during your season year of high school?
Murphy: I felt that I had a great senior year. The team, the record wasn't very good. We didn't finish out all that well. I kind of got pitched around a lot, but I'm happy with what I was able to accomplish.
Cole: You were drafted as an outfielder. Haven't you played first base as well?
Murphy: I was stuck at first base a lot just because of my quad.
Cole: Have you been playing outfield longer than first base?
Murphy: No, I've probably been playing first longer.
Cole: Do you feel comfortable in the outfield?
Murphy: Oh yeah. I split time between first and the outfield this year.
Cole: Which outfield position do you spend most time at and which are you expecting to play as a member of the Rangers organization?
Murphy: In high school I played right and centerfield, but I'm probably going to be in left field with the Rangers.
Cole: Is that something you talked about with your area scout? Did you guys discuss playing outfield or first base?
Murphy: It was mainly talking about the bat – that was mostly what we talked about. I have no problem playing left field or first base. It doesn't matter with me. As long as I can hit.
Cole: So people can get an idea of what you're like as a hitter, is there a big league player that you compare yourself to or try to model your game after?
Murphy: People have compared me to Jim Thome swing-wise. I like Todd Helton. Adam LaRoche some, I've been compared with. But mostly Jim Thome.
Cole: You got to play in the Aflac High School All-American Game last year and even got to compete in the home run derby. What was that experience like?
Murphy: That was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I think yesterday was probably the best moment of my life, when I finally got that call. But until then, it was Aflac. That whole week was amazing. It was just an honor.
Q&A with Rangers 5th Round Pick Clark Murphy
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