HUNTSVILLE – For the 12th straight season, a Sam Houston State player has heard his name called in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Bryce Johnson was selected in the sixth round with the 186th overall pick by the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. The center fielder became the highest pick for a Sam Houston player since Cody Dickson's fourth-round, 119th overall selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013.
In three seasons, the Cypress native posted a .338 average while making 177 total starts including 136 consecutive to close out his Bearkat career. Johnson ranks fourth in program lore with 67 stolen bases, tied for sixth with 147 runs scored and seventh in hits (240).
The Cy Ranch High School product broke through in 2017, leading Sam Houston with 32 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games. The switch-hitter paced the Bearkats with a .350 average, 63 runs, 92 hits, 34 walks and 33 stolen bases while being named First-Team All-Southland Conference.
With Johnson spearheading the offense, the Bearkats captured their first ever NCAA Regional championship and berth in the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional. The departing-junior was named to the NCAA Lubbock Regional All-Tournament Team after finishing 6 for 17 (.353) with four RBIs.
With his selection, Johnson became the 55th Bearkat in program history to be drafted and the first Sam Houston player to be taken by the Giants. Only the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies remain among the 30 teams to have not drafted a Sam Houston player.
The 40-round draft, which began on Monday, continues with the conclusion of the first 10 rounds on Tuesday while rounds 11-40 will be on Wednesday with live streaming available at MLB.com.
Bryce Johnson on learning he was selected by the Giants…
“The only thing I could really tell you was tears of joy. I had my dad here with me when I found out. It was awesome. I had (Todd) Tiny (Thomas) who was the cross-checker who was there all fall and spring. He had my back and checked on me almost every day. It's a dream come true.”
Bryce Johnson on what impacted him at Sam Houston State…
“Number one would be coach Deggs. There was no other reason I was going to Sam. He taught all of us how to work. He taught us to love each other and bring everyone up. There was not a negative day out there. It was a great atmosphere.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on Bryce Johnson being drafted…
“I am just really happy for him. The Giants got a great one there. I know they really liked him. They saw what we see in him and that's a beautiful athlete that has an ability to make adjustments. He is the same guy every day. He's going to continue to fill out and get bigger and stronger. He probably has one of the biggest upsides in the draft. It's an absolutely great get for the Giants. I am super happy for him.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on Johnson's impact on the team in three years…
“We knew he was a great athlete. His mindset and demeanor … he shows up to work every day. He doesn't get too high or too low and that's on any stage that he's on. He has the same approach every day. You don't know if he's 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. That's a special quality in a hitter. Those guys are hard to find. That will serve him well in his climb to the big leagues and I fully expect him to get to the big leagues.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on Sam Houston preparing those for the next level…
“We've got really good players to begin with. We put a lot of pride on getting guys that are athletic and developing those guys. Our coaches work extremely hard on the developmental side of things. Our kids that come in here are workers. They come in with the mindset that they are going to get a degree and play professional baseball. We take a lot of pride in being able to help with that.”