Both Kurtis Byrne and Porter Brown know a lot about patience.
It took the better part of three seasons, and several injuries to and in front of him, for Brown to earning a starting spot in the TCU outfield, and his patience paid off with as hot a close to 2021 as you found in the game. Once stuck at the end of the bench due to injuries and depth at the position, Brown was the team’s offensive MVP down the stretch, winning Most Outstanding Honors in OKC as the Horned Frogs won a Big 12 Conference Tournament title. He enters the fall as one of the best young players in the league and a candidate to hit early in the lineup for Kirk Saarloos’ new-look squad.
Byrne’s story is a bit different; buried behind five year starter Zach Humphries, the highly regarded catcher has just 42 career at-bats and has appeared in just 21 career games across a season and a third. But he is in line to start in 2022, and with his biggest competitor for the role choosing to go to the minor leagues, he’s all but a shoe-in to be the next in a long lineage of outstanding catchers in Fort Worth.
Both players spent their summer getting better, looking to ensure their spot as not just players, but contributors, for a TCU team looking to right the wrongs of a disappointing regional last spring. They ended up joining forces on the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League, leaving favorable impressions on the people of the East Coast power.
Byrne struggled at the plate some this summer, batting just .190 with 26 Ks. But he came through when his team needed him most, driving in both runs with a double in the opening game of the best of three series that ultimately led to a championship for his team.
He started 28 games for the Whitecaps, committing just two errors as he held down the backstop with a mature, steadying presence all summer long. Byrne also received the CCBL Sportsmanship Award for his on and off the field excellence.
The @WhitecapsCCBL were awarded the East Division Champions Trophy this afternoon, prior to the game.— Cape League (@OfficialCCBL) August 6, 2021
Brewster’s catcher, @KurtisByrne received the Daniel J. Sportsmanship Award! pic.twitter.com/0IUB5WvN7k
Porter Brown cooled off a bit from his hot spring, but collected a home run, a double, six RBIs and three stolen bases in his time with the ‘Caps. He also starred in this exceptional video:
Regardless of their individual accomplishments, you want your young players out competing at a high level, and winning at a high level, as much as possible. Participating in, and winning, the Cape Cod League is a fantastic achievement for two guys that the Horned Frogs will be counting on to be big-time contributors come spring.