MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — As the Pelicans summer rejuvenation and playoff push continues into August the team and manager Steve Lerud will continue to look to catcher Tyler Payne in this hunt for the postseason.
“He is the leader in that clubhouse. He is a veteran that keeps everybody loose but he also controls things that go on in there. He is a guy you want on your team,” Pelicans Manager Steve Lerud said.
Payne was born in Hurricane, W.V. and had a successful high school career which was capped off by being named the Gatorade Player of the Year in West Virginia. Payne was drafted in the 30th round of the 2015 MLB draft out of division 2 school West Virginia State. After spending time in Arizona, Eugene and South Bend he made his way to the beach this summer.
“I mean it was always a goal. It was a goal obviously first to go play college baseball to get a scholarship to play and then after that goal was accomplished I just moved onto the next. You know I just wanted the opportunity. It didn’t really matter with who but I am very thankful it was the Cubs,” Payne said.
The investment made by the Cubs has paid off so far this season for the Pelicans. Along with being a good veteran presence in the locker room, Payne is one of the teams best bats. He is batting .256 with 8 home runs and a team best slugging percentage .383. Payne credits his father for his accomplishments and his work ethic.
“He is just, everything he does he works hard every day. He worked with the Charleston police department for 28 years and never took a sick day so that is kind of how I try to approach this. I never have taken a day off,” Payne said.
As he continues his journey through the Cubs minor league system he enjoys playing catch with kids in the park before the game and giving them the same advice that he follows.
“I mean I do that because I was that kid one day and maybe I could put that spark in a kids eyes. But my advice would be to take advantage of every day, every opportunity and don’t let an at bat go to waste, don’t let a game go to waste.”