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October 22, 2010

Friday 5: Bryce Lane

A couple of days ago, the number one pick in last summer’s draft, Bryce Harper, uttered the following before his Arizona Fall League debut:

I think in the next couple years we will be the Yankees of the NL East. I have been telling everyone that. We are going to roll. We are going to win some World Series.

It’s a pretty lofty goal when you consider that pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg has already had major arm surgery, the Yankees have boat loads of cash and Tampa Bay actually won the American League East this past season.

Oh…and Harper has yet to face real pitching.

But other than that, the 18 year-old is spot on.

I bring up Harper only to segue to one of the other Bryces (there were six total) that was drafted this past June…Bryce Lane.

The outfielder was taken in the 41st round (1232 picks after Harper) by the Houston Astros, quickly signed and was shipped off to Greeneville, Tennessee to suit up for the Astros Appalachian League team.

Lane ended his first year in the Minors with a .268 combined batting average through 60 games with three different teams. The 21 year-old now joins his former Greeneville teammate Delino DeShields Jr. as the second Astros farmhand to take their cuts at the “Friday 5”.

HOVG: This probably isn’t something that you’re supposed to ask, but you went in the 41st round…was that later than you expected or earlier?

LANE: It was definitely later. I told the scouts that it didn't matter where I was picked…I just wanted to play. Despite where I got picked, I got the chance of a lifetime and I'm going to make the best of it.

HOVG: I read something written shortly after you signed your contract that said “41st Round pick Bryce Lane got 15th Round money”. Now, I’m not sure what that means, nor am I going to ask…but what was the first thing you purchased?

LANE: I actually bought some (Nike) Huarache cleats and a box of Max bats. The cleats I bought before I left for mini-camp were giving me shin splints and the bats I was using weren't so great.

HOVG: What are you looking forward to the most as a professional?

LANE: I am looking forward to being at the field everyday and getting paid to do what I love. I have been playing ball since I was five years-old and it is now starting to pay off.

HOVG: Let's look into the future...what'll be your walk up music when you hit the pros?

LANE: I'm not sure what it will be…maybe a little oldies rock.

HOVG: Alright, man…what’s next?

LANE: I'm going to do my time in the minors for a couple of years then I'm going to get the big call-up. (I will) try and see if I can make a career out of it and be the Brett Favre of baseball.

Since 1990, only 16 players picked in the 41st round have made it to the big leagues, but being a late round pick doesn’t necessarily mean a career in the Minors.

Baltimore shortstop Julio Lugo was drafted by Lane’s Astros in the 43rd round of the 1994 draft, and he’s gone on to collect close to 1300 hits, 200 stolen bases and a 2007 World Series ring.

Jeff Conine was taken in the 58th round of the 1987 draft and became the face of the Florida Marlins by helping them bring home two World Championships.

And do I even need to bring up the story of 62nd round pick and future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza?

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