Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 14, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria area pipeline to professional baseball continued this week, as Sooke native Kurt Horne, a 17-year old, left-handed pitcher, was drafted last week in the 2014 MLB Entry Draft and announced yesterday he will sign a minor league contract with the New York Mets.
Sooke, BC native Kurtis Horne has pitched for the Canadian Junior National team for the past 2 years and has announed he will sign to play pro with the New York Mets organization (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Horne, who last season, helped pitch the Victoria Eagles to the BC Premier League (BCPBL) championship, has been playing for the Langley Blaze this season, as well as enjoying his second year in a row on the Canadian National Junior Team. Through his work with both of those teams, Horne gathered a great deal of interest from scouts with many MLB teams and it was the Mets, in the 31st round, who finally took a chance on the 6’5″ hurler.
Horne was the 10th of 16 Canadians selected in the 2014 MLB Draft and he is the fourth to sign with a club, the first being North York, Ontario outfielder Gareth Morgan (2nd round, 74th overall, 1st Canadian selected) who signed with Seattle for $2 million U.S. Exact details of Horne’s signing bonus with the Mets were not available, but initial reports indicate that it will be on the order of $135,000 US, which includes both cash and additional funds for schooling down the road should they be required.
Horne, spotted here last week at a Victoria HarbourCats game wearing the cap of his new team, will head to Florida this week to join the Mets Gulf Coast League Rookie affiliate (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Horne’s signing represents the third year in a row that a Victoria area ballplayer has been signed by a Major League club. In 2012, Jesse Hodges turned a great stint with the Canadian Junior National team into a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs organization and last year, Nick Pivetta was drafted and signed by the Washington Nationals. Hodges has just started his second season of pro ball with the Cubs Class A Short Season affiliate Boise Hawks, while Pivetta is enjoying a great 8-3 start with the Hagerstown Suns, the Class A affiliate of the Nationals.
For Horne, it is a dream come true. “My dream has always been to play professional baseball. It was just an honour to be drafted last week by the Mets and now I am looking forward to beginning my pro career with their Gulf Coast League team in Florida.”
Horne, who had received a scholarship offer to attend New Mexico Junior College in the fall, will now put his educational plans on hold and pack his bags this week and head off to Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he will join the Mets Rookie Ball affiliate that plays in the Gulf Coast League. The Mets Gulf Coast Rookie League affiliate was restablished in 2013 after a 2 year hiatus and went 20-40 in their 60 game season, finishing last in the GCL East. Horne hopes to help the team improve upon that record in 2014, but more importantly begin to develop his talents at the professional level.
The 6’5″ Horne (centre) credits his development as a pitcher to his Dad Rocky (right) who “put him together” and his mentor, coach Marty Hall (left) who “polished him up” (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Horne grew up playing his minor baseball with the Triangle and Gordon Head Baseball Associations in Victoria and began to exert his pitching dominance at an early age, overpowering many batters at the Mosquito and Pee Wee age levels. That dominance continued and in 2011 he helped lead the Bantam AAA Eagles to a BC Provincial Championship and just two years later, the Eagles to the BCPBL Championship.
Over that time Horne’s pitching mechanics have always been excellent and amazingly consistent. He owes that to long time pitching coach Marty Hall who has worked with Horne extensively from an early age. He also of course has had never ending support from his Dad Rocky – who often coached Kurt in his younger days – Mom Candi and older brother Kyle.
Then and Now: Whether pitching as a 11-year old Pee Wee player, or a 17-year old on the Junior National Team, Horne has shown excellent, and incredibly consistent mechanics, on the mound (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“Nothing can explain the pride Candi, Kyle and I are feeling,” said the elder Horne. “I thought Kurt being asked to play for the Canadian National Team was a huge accomplishment, but even that pales by comparison to him being drafted. When Kurt was little, he wanted to play pro ball and now here he is. I’m sure the hardest part will be him moving out and not seeing him for a long period of time.”