Brandon Guyer played baseball at the University of Virginia from 2005 to 2007, and started 171 of the 172 games he played in. After leading the Cavaliers in hits, home runs, and total bases his sophomore and junior seasons, the Chicago Cubs selected the outfielder in the fifth round of the 2007 draft.
Brian O'Conner, UVA's head baseball coach says, "Brandon was such a competitor when he played on this field. I remember many times that he would run through that wall in left field to make a catch."
After four years in the Cubs minor league system, which included 2010 Minor League Player of the Year honors in Chicago's system, the Cubs traded Guyer to Tampa Bay. And on May 6th of last year, the Herndon High School grad made his major league debut.
Guyer says, "It was crazy. I don't think it could have worked out any better. When I found out I was getting called up, I was ecstatic. It's a dream come true. To find out that it was in Baltimore, so all my family and friends could go, it worked out great."
In his first major league at-bat, Guyer hit a 2-run home run.
"When I was rounding the bases, I just couldn't believe it," says Guyer. "So many emotions are going through my head, but definitely blessed and honored to have that privilege."
"I was so proud of Brandon Guyer," says O'Connor. "The fact that you got your call up for the first time in the major leagues, and you hit a home run in your first at-bat puts him in a very elite category in major league baseball."
Guyer played in 15 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last summer, racking up eight hits, seven runs, and two home runs.
Next month, Guyer reports to Tampa Bay's spring training in Florida, playing to start the season where he wants to be the rest of his career.
Guyer says, "I'd say my goals are just to get up there and have a productive big league career. I don't want to get up there and be one of those guys that's a fourth outfielder, that plays every now and then, but I know, going up, until I make my spot, I might have to do that, but I just want to get up there and contribute in a big way. But I know it might take awhile to do that. I'm just going to have to keep battling and grinding, and try to stay healthy. That's a main thing for me. Everything else will happen for a reason."
O'Connor says, "He's a great person, and he's going to continue to fight and try to stay in the Major Leagues and be a great player."