Shayne Houck was a stand-out third basemen at Kutztown University. He was a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Athlete of the Year and the 2010 Atlantic Region Player of the Year. Houck was selected in the 29th round by the San Francisco Giants organization. In his first season in Rookie Ball, he batted .291 with four home runs and 22 RBI’s.
Billy: How did your experience playing at Kutztown affect you getting drafted?
Shayne Houck: Playing here definitely helped me get exposure. My first year here, two pitchers got drafted. It helped for scouts to come to the games and see what I can do.
B: What is your most memorable moment as a Golden Bear?
S: I’d say the 2010 Regional Championship Game. We had to beat West Chester twice that day. The first game went 11 or 12 innings and we won. In the second game, Nate [Reed] came off two days rest and threw eight shut-out innings. It was awesome. West Chester was a more talented team, but we found a way to win.
B: How did you feel when you first got drafted?
S: Nervous, anxious and excited. I was shaking for 20 minutes when my name got called. [In] the next couple of hours after I got drafted, it was hectic but fun.
B: Who did you get drafted by?
S: It was the San Francisco Giants affiliation. The Arizona League Rookie Ball in Scottsdale, Arizona.
B: How would you describe playing in the minor leagues?
S: It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. There are a lot of bus rides and not a whole lot to do being that far from home. It was a new experience, and I got to see a lot of talented young players.
B: How did it feel to hit your first minor league home run?
S: It felt awesome. We were playing on a huge field. I hit it to the right of center field, a 97 MPH fastball. I watched it the whole way and almost missed first base.
B: What’s the difference between the pitching of a division II player and a minor league player?
S: Probably the velocity. They usually have some sort of scouting report. They know how to pitch around you.
B: What was the biggest challenge of transitioning to minor league baseball?
S: The comfort level, because you go in not knowing what to expect. It was my first time being away from my family, living on my own and supporting myself.
B: How is the coaching different at the minor league level?
S: It’s a lot different than college. There are six or seven coaches for each team. Roving instructors are important because they know all the aspects of a particular position.
B: What’s one thing you’ve learned after playing a season in the minor leagues?
S: The importance of taking care of your body so you can perform. Playing every day for two and a half months takes a toll on your body.
B: What are your thoughts on playing next season?
S: Getting back to spring training and hoping things go well. I’d like to move up to Single-A ball in Augusta and play on the east coast.
B: Do you know where you’ll be playing?
S: No, I can just go to spring training and hope they send me to one of the full-time teams. If not, either they release you or you play inter-squad for two months until the extended spring season starts.
Houck is really trying to adjust properly to the game itself, as well as the surrounding lifestyle. It appears he has done just that and has had himself a successful first few months. Now let’s hope we see him on the San Jose Giants roster this time next year, the Single-A affiliation of the San Francisco Giants.
By Billy Felo