Black Learning Through His Struggles

Black is batting just .149 against right-handers

Weighing in at 195, and standing at 6-feet, outfielder Justin Black was taken by the Atlanta Braves as the 149th overall pick. Black showed just what's he's capable of bringing to the plate at the GCL Braves home field Thursday, July 26th when he hit a homer on a fly ball to the left corner at the bottom of the sixth inning, proving that his determination is beginning to pay off.

"Black's young, and he needs experience," GCL Braves Rocket Wheeler said. "It's just a matter of trial and error, you know, the ups and downs."

Experience is just what Black sought out before the start of this GCL season. Black knows he's got plenty of room for growth and it seems he's got the work ethic to get there. The 19-year-old Black went to Arizona in March to play on a Canadian club team, which helped him to prepare for the GCL.

"I trained the whole offseason, working out everyday two or three times a day," Black explained. "I played in Spring Training this year for a Canadian team down in Arizona, which gave me a good perspective on competition."

Despite having come from Montana, a state that isn't prized on baseball, Black is aware that his coaches expect to see a lot from him.

"I don't come from a state where baseball is prominent, but I'm making the most of it and I'd say I'm doing alright," Black said. "At the beginning of the season I was really hard on myself, I kept working and I kept falling, but I have my family for support. I know I have it in me I just have to let it out.

"When I started hitting I didn't have confidence in my abilities, but I keep working and I try to get better everyday."

The young prospect acknowledges he has much to learn defensively and is aware that he's got the agility to help him get where he needs to be quickly on the field.

"My greatest asset in my game is my speed. I can run pretty fast and defensively I'm sound, but I'm still raw and learning," Black revealed. "It's a process and I understand that, but at the end of the day I'm just trying to make it to the show."

Wheeler was adamant about Black's progression on the field, it's just a matter of time.

"Black's got talent, it's just going to take a little bit of time to get it out of him," Wheeler explained.

Despite the .189 average so far, Black seems to be adjusting to professional ball well. He's acknowledged that he's got great coaches as well as great teammates, and explained that he's learned that it's important "not to be so hard" on oneself.

"You can never be complacent about anything in this game because if you are, baseball is weird like that, and it's going to come find you," Black said.

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