Kyle Murphy played two seasons in the Texas Rangers' farm system. He hit .194 with zero homeruns.
But, Murphy's stat line doesn't mean he hasn't hit some homers in the baseball industry. After his playing career, he joined Rawlings and is now the Director and Business Unit Lead covering a number of different things. The most important category he operates? Bats.
How did you get started with Rawlings?
Wrapped up my playing days (Rangers Farm System), and chased my future wife to St. Louis. Quickly realized Rawlings was based in St. Louis, and landed a customer service position before being quickly moved into product development for bats.
What--in your opinion--makes Rawlings a leader in bats?
Focus and innovation. Rawlings has made a strategic decision to grow the bat segment in a big way, and the focus on the category proves that. Our commitment to providing bats to several of the top collegiate programs and their trust in using our bats is telling. Rawlings has gone back-to-back in National Championships with Virginia baseball in ’15 and Oklahoma softball in ’16.
What enhancements to bats is Rawlings working on for future versions?
Our lab is non-stop. We are well underway on 2018 and beyond concept and designs. Every performance bat in our arsenal gets evaluated every year, and you can count on bats getting faster, sweets spots getting larger, and balls going farther. Expect to see a few staples in our line get exciting makeovers!
Which--in your opinion--are the best bats?
The infinite design capabilities of composite bats allow for breakthrough performance which in return yields a better bat. Composite bats can be tuned or tweaked to enhance the feel at contact, reduce vibration, increase the sweet spot, achieve a faster swing weight; the list goes on. It’s more difficult to tweak those variables with alloy.
What’s your favorite part about working with JustBats.com?
The focus. The crew at Justbats.com flat out get it!
They understand bats and are committed to the customer experience.
What’s something about Rawlings (or yourself) that people may not know?
We have a test lab in St. Louis, Missouri in which we conduct extensive lab testing.
Every aspect of a bat is durability tested as well as thoroughly performance tested. Also, we utilize our top collegiate teams and several premiere Perfect Game players to field test our bats and provide the critical feedback needed before launching a new bat.
Why should aspiring ballplayers use Rawlings?
Rawlings is authentic. No other single baseball brand has more players at the highest level using its product. Rawlings is trusted for its quality and innovation.
What do you think of the USABat Standard rule?
Although performance is going the wrong direction, I love the idea of giving players a bigger barrel to swing with. I was forced to use small barrels growing up, and am glad those days are over! I always felt there was a disconnect between youth baseball and high school baseball, as the players I looked up to were all swinging the big barrels. This change allows players to make more contact and generate more power.
Which celebrity would you love to make a custom bat for?
I got a feeling he could hit a ball a lot farther with a Rawlings bat than he could with Wonder Boy or Savoy Special… We’ll even throw on a lightning bolt.
A time machine takes you back to your youth. What bat are you going to tell your younger self to use?
First off, I would tell my younger self to pay attention to bats. I used to think a bat is a bat - I couldn’t have been more wrong!
The technology in bats is real and will change the stat line. If I were to choose a bat today to step into the box with, I would choose the USSSA Rawlings Quatro. The bat is loaded – the barrel is huge, sweet spot in enormous, and the performance is incredible. Not sure how you miss a ball with this bat.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen working for Rawlings?
A year into the job, I witnessed Rawlings go from a laughable bat company to a serious competitor. The original 5150 was by-far the best BBCOR bat in the market when the standard changed. We believe the USABat standard change will elevate our position in youth bats and will take us to the next level.
Who is your favorite ballplayer and why?
Paul Molitor. Growing up a Brewers fan, he was certainly a superstar in the state of Wisconsin. He could flat out hit, and I idolized his simple approach at the plate.
If you were a bat feature, what would you be and why?
I would like to think explosive – certainly in my playing days, but my aging might think otherwise.
Thank you, Kyle, for answering questions. If you have any Rawlings' bat questions, please feel free to give our friendly Bat Experts a call at (866-321-2287). You can also shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to live chat. Don't forget, we'll be here for you from click to hit!