The Braves have a catching prospect named Evan Gattis. He turned heads by hitting .322/.386/.601 and socking 22 homers in a mere 377 plate appearances in the Sally League last year at the age of 24.
Your first thought may be “well, yeah, but 24 is pretty old for the Sally League.” That’s true. Which means that you can’t necessarily say that Gattis is some uber-prospect.
But it is interesting to hear why, at 24, he was only in the Sally League. Turns out he has had one hell of a journey in his life these past several years, and today Dave O’Brien of the AJC has his story:
Eight years ago, James Evan Gattis was a burly power hitter coming out of high school in Forney, Texas. He signed with Texas A&M, but never made it to College Station.
Instead he went to drug rehab for 30 days. Then a halfway house for three months. After a brief baseball career at an Oklahoma junior college, he dropped out and tried to tune in or turn on to something, anything that might give him some clarity.
His life began to resemble a Jack Kerouac novel mixed with new age spiritualism wherever he could find it. He traveled the western United States, stopping for a few months here and there, working jobs ranging from ski-lift operator to janitor.
It’s a great read, and he seems like a neat guy.
Though really, he reminds me less of Kerouac — or whatever we’ve come to think of as that which Kerouac represented — and more of James Ellroy. Someone who, unlike most other people who spend time in the wilderness of drugs and aimlessness, actually find a way out and succeed in the world they should have entered years before.
Such a thing is a romantic notion, but man is it rare. Once lives are derailed, they tend to say that way.