chance of reaching level Which sport should Kyler Murray choose?Probability of reaching various performance levels in MLB or NFL for players similar* to Kyler Murray, by sport SportNever made ItScrubDecentGood/Great Baseball14.7%43.1%29.4%12.8% * Similar players in baseball are college hitters selected between no. 5-15 in the draft (since 1965). In football, they are starting QBs for a team ranked among the AP’s preseason top 10 going into the season (since 1990).Performance metrics cover the first 10 years of a player’s career.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs, The Baseball Cube, Pro-football-reference.com, sports-reference.com/CFB Kyler Murray, a student-athlete at the University of Oklahoma, is facing a very good dilemma right now. Murray plays outfield for OU’s baseball team, and he was taken ninth overall in the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics on Monday. Murray also plays quarterback for Oklahoma’s football team — and he’s currently the heir apparent to the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, Baker Mayfield, under center.Murray won’t have to choose between baseball and football right away, but eventually, he will have to pick a path for his athletic future. (Or at least, the immediate future.) What’s a two-sport star to do?Murray is already in lofty company as a multi-talented athlete, since few players have ever been good enough to potentially start at QB for a top college team while also hearing their name called among MLB’s top 10 draft picks. But if you were in Murray’s position, which path — baseball or football — tends to offer the most success, historically speaking? This decision could mean the difference between Murray becoming the next Russell Wilson or the next Drew Henson.To help do the math on Murray’s decision, I used wins above replacement1In this case, an average of the versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com. to measure the careers of similar baseball players and Approximate Value2Pro-Football-Reference.com’s rough gauge for NFL productivity. to measure the careers of similar football players.3Specifically, I used a weighted sum of a player’s value produced in the first 10 years of his career, giving a player 100 percent credit for his value in his best season, 90 percent credit for his second-best season, 80 percent credit for his third-best season, and so forth.Who counts as “similar”? For baseball, I looked at college hitters since 19654The first year of MLB’s amateur draft. who were drafted between picks No. 5 and 15 overall. For football, I gathered data since 19905Roughly when the modern era of college offenses really began. on college quarterbacks who started6By which I mean, played regularly enough to be the team’s QB of record on Sports-Reference.com’s seasonal passing leaderboards. for a team that ranked in the preseason top 10 going into the year. (AP hasn’t released its preseason rankings for 2018 yet, but the Sooners seem like a safe bet to be included.) Because I looked at the first 10 years of a player’s career, those who were drafted by MLB or started at QB in college after 2008 were not included in the study.Broadly speaking, these groups represent Murray’s current status in each sport. I then broke their careers down into four categories based on their WAR/AV: “never made it” (players who never played a game in the big leagues),7According to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s data, this includes players who were on rosters or practice squads but never actually set foot on the field for a down of a regular-season or playoff game. “scrubs” (guys who played in the bigs but weren’t regulars and had little impact), “decent” players (those who were regulars but not stars) and “good/great” players (generally All-Star level players and above). Here’s how the players comparable to Murray ended up panning out in the pros: Neither path to stardom is guaranteed; in both cases, more than 50 percent of comparable players either failed to play in the big leagues at all or made a minimal impact once there. But the chance of washing out completely are much lower — by a factor of about three — for highly drafted baseball prospects than for college quarterbacks at top programs. Likewise, the odds of stardom, or simply having a solid career, are much higher for baseball players like Murray than for football players like him.As my research has shown in the past, college hitters (like Murray) tend to be very reliable picks relative to the rest of baseball’s draft crapshoot. Meanwhile, top-level starting college QBs can range from Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to Gino Torretta and Thad Busby. Add in Murray’s MLB draft signing bonus (the No. 9 slot carries a value of about $4.8 million), the higher average salary for MLB vs. the NFL in general (even the average QB makes only about a half-million dollars more per year than the overall MLB average) and the concerns that Murray’s height — he’s 5-foot-10 — might prevent him from playing quarterback in the NFL, and it seems obvious that Murray should pick baseball.In fact, to cut down on the injury risk, perhaps Murray should forgo football next season, even though the NCAA does allow players to retain their amateur status in football after signing in baseball. (I realize the temptation to put up ridiculous, Mayfield-esque stats in Oklahoma’s offense is difficult to resist.)Of course, if he doesn’t want to choose, Murray can always take the Tim Tebow path — the Mets are always looking for former QBs who are turning back to baseball in the twilight of their athletic careers. Football43.2%39.1%13.0%4.7%
Share Updated at 2:30 p.m. ETPresident Trump’s would-be ban on transgender service members in the military has been blocked from going into effect for the foreseeable future.A U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., decided on Monday that trans members of the military have a strong case that the president’s ban would violate their Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted a preliminary injunction to keep the policy from going into effect while the court case moves forward.As a result of her injunction, the military policy on transgender service members will “revert to the status quo,” Kollar-Kotelly writes — that is, the policy that was in place before Trump’s announcement. That policy allowed trans members currently in the military to serve openly, and for openly trans people to be admitted to serve in the future.Kollar-Kotelly did not block the portion of the presidential memorandum that blocked military resources from being used to fund “sex reassignment surgical procedures,” saying her court does not have jurisdiction over that policy. Before 2016, service members who came out as trans were “caught in limbo,” as NPR has previously reported. They weren’t eligible for promotion, and were treated according to their gender assigned at birth. Troops who came out as trans could be discharged purely on the basis of their gender identity. Aspiring soldiers who were openly trans were considered unfit for duty.In June 2016, after lengthy deliberation, the Pentagon announced a policy change. “Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly,” then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said. And within a year, he said, the military would no longer turn away recruits on the basis of trans identity. (The deadline was later extended by six months.)Then, this July, Trump tweeted that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” an announcement that caught many people (including leaders at the Defense Department) by surprise.The tweet was followed by an official presidential memo in August. The memo called for trans members of the military to, once again, be eligible for discharge based on their gender identity, and for would-be service members who are openly trans to be prohibited from joining the military, effective on Jan. 1, 2018.The memo did not go as far as Trump’s tweets. For instance, whether or not individuals currently serving would be discharged, among other elements of implementing the ban, would be up to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, according to the memo. Any steps taken should be “appropriate and consistent with military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints and applicable law,” the instructions stated.Under the new preliminary injunction, this portion of the memo is unenforceable and the Pentagon policy is once again in effect. That means, unless the policy changes again, openly trans people could begin joining the military on Jan. 1.The lawsuit against the Trump administration was initially filed by five anonymous service members, “Jane Doe” 1-5, from different branches, with decades of collective service and multiple overseas deployments between them. The “Jane Doe” plaintiffs were later joined by a “John Doe.”Two named plaintiffs, one at the Naval Academy and another in the Army ROTC, also joined the lawsuit as aspiring service members who, as openly transgender individuals, would be blocked from their career path by the president’s memorandum.The judge ruled that the plaintiffs have persuasive claims that their Fifth Amendment rights are being violated, and have a good chance of succeeding in their court case. She noted, among other things, that the president’s policy was announced with little apparent deliberation, “disfavors a class of historically persecuted and politically powerless individuals” and contradicts the conclusions of military leaders.She also wrote “the reasons given for [the directives] do not appear to be supported by any facts” — for instance, there is “practically no explanation at all” about how trans service members would harm “unit cohesion,” she wrote.The memo released by the president also prohibits the military from spending any resources on surgeries related to a service member’s gender transition. Covering transition-related health needs was one of the policy changes the Pentagon announced in 2016.Kollar-Kotelly said she could not issue a preliminary injunction on that element of the memo, because none of the plaintiffs in this case had proven that they would personally be harmed by that clause.The Human Rights Campaign called the injunction “an important step in the ongoing efforts to protect transgender service members.”This case is not the only challenge to Trump’s trans service member ban. The ACLU has a separate challenge pending in Maryland, on behalf of several named active service members.“As all of these cases move forward, we will continue to work to ensure that transgender service members are treated with the equal treatment they deserve,”ACLU senior staff attorney Joshua Block said in a statement.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.