Feb. 21, 2011
By Jon Cooper
Physically speaking, twin brothers Kyle and Colby Wren are about as different as two baseball players can be.
Kyle, the elder by 25 minutes, is a skinny center fielder who makes consistent contact and has speed to burn.
Colby is a corner infielder who is a little more filled out and loves to drive the ball.
Mentally, however, the oldest sons of Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren are one, on the field and off. That’s not usual for twins. It’s also evidently not unusual for Georgia Tech to attract athletically gifted twins with famous sports-oriented fathers; see volleyball players Alexis and Mariah Woodson and their dad, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson.
Having both Wren brothers bodes well for the program.
“I think both are going to be good players for us,” said Head Coach Danny Hall. “Kyle is probably the guy that is going to get more action, at least as a freshman. Colby’s probably behind a couple of guys at first base [juniors Matt Skole and Jake Davies], but I think both those guys will help us a lot. Both are good kids and both are really good workers.”
Both also have a little bit of their father in them. Frank was an outfielder in the then-Montreal Expos system from 1977 through 1982, where he hit right-handed and loved to run (18 career stolen bases in 24 tries).
“I was a right-handed centerfielder; Kyle is a left-handed centerfielder,” said the senior Wren. “Colby is right-handed, and Colby is built more like me. I was a speed player as well, like Kyle. So there are a lot of similarities, but they also have their differences.” (The twins actually have a younger brother, Jordan, who homered in his first high school at-bat over the weekend, and may encapsulate the best of both of them).
Kyle was a key contributer during the Yellow Jacket’s opening weekend against Kent State. Batting leadoff, he doubled to open the bottom of the first and was a thorn in the Golden Flashes’ side the rest of the weekend, hitting .455 (five hits in 11 trips to the plate), with a .571 on-base percentage (he also drew three walks) and a .727 slugging average, scoring four times.
“If I dreamed of how I would do in my first career game, it probably wouldn’t be as good as that,” he said after the 3-for-4, two-run debut. “That was definitely a dream come true to start the season.” His biggest supporter was Colby.
“It was pretty cool being able to celebrate with him. It was pretty awesome just to watch him perform that well his first couple of games,” he said. “You get a double, triple, a walk and another single in your first collegiate start at any level, not to mention Georgia Tech, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
“Just knowing how much they care and love to play, you hope they get off to a good start. You hope they feel good about how they’re playing,” said Frank, who attended the game. “When we call a young guy to the big leagues, that’s the same way I feel. I hope they get off to a good start, I hope they get their confidence and feel good about how things are going, because such a big part of our game is feeling good about how you’re playing.”
The brothers have always watched out for each other.
Kyle and Colby were a big part of the success at Landmark Christian High School in Fairburn, Ga., where they were part of War Eagles teams that won the 2010 Region Championship and earned ’08 and ’09 state runner-up status.
“Our last two years, [Kyle] was the table-setter, hitting leadoff. I batted in the two-hole right behind him,” Colby recalled. “So he would get on all the time, which would give me a lot of RBI opportunities. So it’s kind of funny because we talk about our contrasting playing styles all the time.”
While they are no longer following each other in the batting order, they still follow each other closely. The support system they supply is vital for their peace of mind, not only as Division I-A baseball players but also as college freshmen.
“It’s great because there’s always someone you know on the team,” said Kyle. “I’ve known a bunch of these guys because we’ve played together in high school and played against each other, but [Colby] being there, he’s my best friend. So I’m never feeling alone at any time because he’s always with me.”
“They’ve always kind of helped each other,” said Frank. “They’ve given each other advice in the dugout, talked about what the other one saw in the last at-bat, and that’s from somebody who knows you as well as your twin, knows your game and knows your swing. I think that’s a big asset.
“I love the fact that they’re at Georgia Tech and in a great program,” he added. “It couldn’t be a better environment for them. So that, from a parent’s standpoint, really is a blessing.”
Hall feels the future is very bright for the duo.
“I think [Kyle] is a prototypical leadoff hitter in that he puts the ball in play a lot, he can really run and has a good eye at the plate. So we’re excited to have him at the top of the order,” he said. “He hasn’t had any tough plays [defensively], but in watching him in the fall and early pre-season, he’s a guy that can definitely run and go get the ball.”
Hall is confident that Colby will learn under the tutelage of Skole and Davies.
“Both those guys are veteran players,” he said. “So he can definitely watch them, see how they go about their business, particularly see how they hit and I think learn a lot from both those guys.”
Kyle believes the rest of the nation is going to learn a lot about how good this Yellow Jackets team, perceived as young, really is.
“I think one of the things that is going to surprise people is this recruiting class,” he said. “We’ve got some of the best people in the nation in this recruiting class. We already have probably one of, if not the best, rotations in the country. The guys who came in as freshmen, these are the guys that barely missed going in the draft because of signability issues. So we’ve got some of the best players in the nation. I think we’re going to surprise people.”