Bobby Wernes, Natural Baseball alum, is playing this season for the Quad Cities River Bandits in the Midwest League, the Low A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Wernes was drafted by the Astros in the 30th round of the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft.
“I always wanted to play professional baseball,” he said. “I finally received the opportunity to continue my dream.”
The decision to play professional baseball was easy.
“If you have to think long and hard about playing professional baseball, it isn’t for you,” he said. “I think the best approach is to play for as long as they keep letting you put on the jersey, because you have such a small window in your life to enjoy playing.”
In 2015 he played third base for the Tri-Cities Valley Cats in the short A New York-Penn League. He hit .346 and made the Mid-Season All-Star team for the league.
What has surprised him about playing professional baseball?
“The main thing that surprised me is how close everyone is in terms of skill,” he said. “There really isn’t much of a gap between the players. First rounders, 40th rounders and free agent guys are close in ability. Everyone is right there, so anyone can make noise within an organization.”
What is hardest part of playing professional baseball?
“The hardest part of professional baseball is that the games are everyday and off days are few and far between,” he said. “In college the most games you would have in a week is probably five. In pro ball there is probably an off day once or twice a month.
“When you’re seeing the ball well it’s great to play that often, but when you are struggling it is a much more difficult task. Also some of the pitching I see makes hitting much less enjoyable.”
His advice to a young player thinking of playing professional baseball.
“It’s a fantastic job and if you have the opportunity you should take and run with it.”
Wernes is a 2012 graduate of Blue Valley West and attended Neosho County Community College. His play at Neosho County and for Natural Baseball grabbed the attention of Arkansas head baseball coach (and BJ alum) Dave Van Horn. Wernes went on to play third base for the Razorbacks in 2014 and 2015.
He was the recipient of the 2013 Frank White Award for Fielding Excellence, the highest defensive honor in the Ban Johnson League.