After jumping from Mercer to Chattahoochee Valley Community College his first two years of college, Bryce Conley found a home the past two seasons in the Georgia State rotation. He made 20 starts for GSU the past two years and was selected by the A’s in the 22nd round of this year’s draft.
After signing with the A’s, Conley was assigned to short-season Vermont, where he has made 10 appearances (four starts). He has struck-out more than a batter an inning (19 in 17.1 innings), but he has also walked more than a batter an inning (18). His ERA is 5.71 and he is holding opposing batters to a .246 average.
Donald Moore spoke with Conley about his transition to pro baseball.
Donald Moore: Hi Bryce, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Bryce Conley: It’s going great. I’m having a great time with all these guys and meeting new people.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
BC: You know just kind of get in touch with pro ball. It’s definitely different than college, so I think in this short season kind of just getting accustomed to professional baseball by playing everyday.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
BC: I think I have a good mentality coming into the game. I think that is my strongest trait and I have to fine-tune some things, but I think my mentality is my biggest asset.
DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
BC: I can improve just about anything. Execution is always big. With being a pitcher you can always improve on making better pitches and staying consistent, so that is what I think I can get better at.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
BC: It’s a grind, I tell you what. Making sure to eat right, get some sleep and it’s not always easy, getting in late on road trips but that is kind of the main thing. Eating healthy and kind of getting enough sleep is the biggest challenge for me so far.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro athlete?
BC: Finally getting paid. It’s not much, but getting paid to play baseball. It’s nice getting a paycheck every two weeks.
DM: Any pre-game routine?
BC: Always, pretty basic stretch, going through the stretching routine and another one out on the field. I do some dry work with sticks and some dry throws before I start throwing and once I get the call down at the bullpen, I have a routine there and after the game I have a routine, as well. It’s very routine-orientated here.
DM: Any hobbies?
BC: Back home there is a lake about 45 minutes away and I love going up to the lake and anything active. I play tennis with my mom, golf with my dad, and I love playing basketball, too.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
BC: My dad was a Red Sox fan which rubbed off on me, but living in Atlanta I became a Braves fan. But, now I am more of an Athletics fan.
DM: Where are you originally from?
BC: I’ve spent most of my life in Alpharetta Georgia. Just north of Atlanta.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
BC: Absolutely my dad [Greg Conley]. He played professionally growing up in the San Diego Padres system and he made it all the way up to spring training ML camp, so he had a lot of insight for me. He was my coach since I started playing until I was a teenager, then he decided it was time to let go and let some other people give me advice. But he has always been there for me. Not only baseball advice but fatherly advice, as well.
DM: Craziest thing you ever seen on a baseball diamond?
BC: I have seen some triple plays , especially the one we had this year.
DM: Any off-season plans?
BC: I need to workout obviously, and I plan on finding a job making some more money.
DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
BC: Thank you. I appreciate it.
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