(Note from the author: This piece isn’t minor league related, but I often take the time to share my observations from my coverage of DII baseball on draft prospects. Due to Evan Gattis’ DII roots at Texas of the Permian Basin, I was afforded the opportunity to discuss those early days with him and wanted to share with our loyal community. Enjoy!)
Evan Gattis is a World Series champion. His long journey to the acme of the Major League Baseball world has been one of the more unique stories. It may have never happened if it weren't for his time with University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
The Texas native grew up on baseball, surrounded by some of today's greats playing for the Dallas Tigers, the premier amateur baseball team in Texas. Names like Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw were his teammates. Gattis was seemingly destined for big league stardom at an early age. He originally planned to attend Texas A&M, but life challenges got in his way. After years of wandering and soul searching, Gattis was ready to return to the sport he loved.
His step-brother Drew Kendrick was pitching for UTPB in 2010. Kendrick could be the one credited with the rebirth of Gattis' baseball career.
“I decided I was going to play again," Gattis said via phone call. "I didn’t know if I had any eligibility left being a 23-year-old. Academically I was a junior, but baseball-wise, I was just a sophomore. Drew gave me a call and said, ‘this is where I am, I’m at UTPB and I love it here. Maybe you should meet coach and see if you can get an opportunity to come out’. It was the only school I talked to. I felt good about it. We met at a restaurant in Dallas, and it was a good situation.”
What was next, Gattis didn't know. But he knew he was back in a familiar environment doing what he does best. Hitting baseballs a very long way.
“I didn’t know what to expect," Gattis said. "It had been so long since I had played. That was all icing on the cake. I was kind of in the, ‘why not go play college baseball?’ mode, because at least I go to college. You could do a lot worse than playing college baseball. My goal was to not quit that year, and just finish out my classes, do well in school, and finish the season. I started liking it, trying to get better, and then I got noticed by a couple of different teams.”
You can read the full interview here: