Blountstown alum starting well with the Braves in A ball
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -It’s been a relatively good start in pro ball for one of Blountstown’s favorite baseball sons, and now Atlanta Braves minor leaguer Bryson Horne. Bryson’s in his first season inside the Braves organization, after signing a free agent contract with the Braves last June.
That was following a terrific run for Bryson at Columbus State. He would have likely been drafted in a normal year, but the MLB draft last year was cut to just five rounds. So far, the young first baseman is hitting .255 with four homers and 15 RBI in 27 games for the Augusta Greenjackets, the Braves Low-A ball team in Georgia. I caught up with Bryson via Zoom to talk about the start of his professional career. And he says he’s pleased with how things are going so far.
Especially these first 6 to 8 weeks have been a learning curve, a learning experience, all of the above.” Horne told me. “Because the last time I played was in college. So now being a professional, it’s a whole new learning process. How to play the game, it’s played a little differently. It’s a tougher game than it was in college. I’m starting to come around a little bit, can’t really complain there. I’m just trying to enjoy the process and have fun while doing it.”
Having fun hitting some home runs, like his first one here a few weeks ago. He has hit three more since then. All in all Horne’s numbers are impressive given he lost an entire year of baseball thanks to the pandemic.
“You know not being able to see live pitching often has definitely played a factor.” Bryson says “And stepping back into the box for the first time against live pitchers, it was pretty tough. And trying to get back used to that was quite a big deal. Plus seeing 95 mile an hour plus every day, it’s a different ball game there too. But it’s just part of the process, you’ve got to just do it every single day. Now professionally we play every day. So just back getting used to it now.”
And playing professionally means the pressure on the player has stepped up, Bryson acknowledges that.
“It’s our job now.” he says. “They expect us to show up every day and be ready to play and perform at a high level. In college, you’re younger and stuff like that, but now it’s what we’re paid to do, it’s our job. So we can’t just call in and say hey I can’t come in today. No that’s not how it works. You’ve got to go in, you’ve got to play, that’s how it is.”
There is an upside though to taking on the added pressure in pro ball, compared to college ball. And that is no longer having to split your time between class and baseball.
“A hundred percent, that’s been the funnest part to me is not having to worry about school.” Horne told me. “Now I wake up every day and it’s like ‘what am I going to do today to get better at baseball?’ Whether it’s lifting weights or hitting, throwing, taking ground balls, whatever it takes. And you know that’s what my day surrounds, every day it’s about baseball. It’s how you get better.”
A nice aspect of playing in Augusta, it’s close enough to Blountstown so Bryson’s family can come watch him play on occasion, without having to get on plane. The drive to Augusta is less than five hours. And Horne says the family has already been to a few of his home games.
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