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The state of Georgia always seems to produce some extremely talented baseball players. The last two years alone have seen Byron Buxton, Lucas Sims, Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows and Travis Demeritte become first-round picks out of the Peach State. This year is no different as there are at least a handful of players who could hear their names called on the first day of the 2014 MLB draft. Guys like Dylan Cease, Mac Marshall, Michael Chavis and Kel Johnson all have that kind of talent. Michael Gettys, a 6’-2”, 200-pound right-hander out of Gainesville HS, may have the most talent of the bunch.
Like Buxton and Demeritte, Gettys is a two-way player with a plus arm who has been clocked at 100 mph from the outfield and can hit 95 mph on the mound. Also like those two, his offensive potential should override his upside on the mound. Aside from his plus arm, Gettys also has plus speed, plus bat speed and showed some serious power at the Under Armour All-American Game home run derby at Wrigley Field. One of his home runs was a moonshot to dead center field and several others were high arching bombs to left. Pitchers don’t typically do things like that. In fact, most of the people around me at the game agreed when I stated, “That’s not a pitcher.”
That’s not to say he couldn’t make it as a starter. Aside from his fastball, he has a nice mid-70s curveball and is very aggressive on the mound, attacking hitters without fear. He tossed two no-hitters as a junior and posted a 0.99 ERA, 0.74 WHIP with 114 K/18 BB over 73 innings. On April 12, in a heavily scouted game between Gainesville and Loganville, he struck out 2013 fifth-overall pick Clint Frazier twice. He has the size, stuff and mentality to make it.
Still, his tools play better as a position player. He knows it, scouts know it and his talent should land him in the upper half of the 2014 MLB draft. Over 32 games as a junior, he hit .406 and stole 38 bases. He has put on clinics this summer and has shot up draft boards. I currently have him ranked at 13 in my early top-50 prospect list, and I think I have him too low. Kiley McDaniel at ScoutingBaseball.com has him ranked eighth-overall.
I had a chance to bounce a couple of questions off Michael Gettys and would like to thank him for his time.
Have you spent more time focusing on hitting or pitching this summer?
I have definitely focused more on hitting this summer but will continue to do both. I’ll mainly work on hitting, however, to try and separate myself with full-time dedication to it. Center field is my future position and my tools play better as a position player.
You’ve had a whirlwind summer, playing in the Perfect Game AA Classic, the East Coast Pro Tournament, as well as the Under Armour AA game. Tell us what you learned over the summer and about the experience to compete against the elite.
It’s just a great experience to play with the best players. It makes me better as a player and it teaches you to slow the game down. When the game gets slower, it’s much easier.
You opened up a lot of eyes at the PG National Showcase and Classic by running a 6.43/60, throwing 100 mph from the outfield and hitting 95 mph on the mound. Did you impress yourself with that kind of showing?
I set my goals really high and worked really hard to get where I am, and I will continue to work really hard and refine little things in my game so I can have a great spring and prepare myself for whatever comes.
Tell us about your approach at the plate.
I want to be aggressive, but not overly aggressive, and not swing at pitches to get myself out. Obviously, sitting fastball and adjust. I want the pitcher to feel uncomfortable, so I try to get him in my count. When he’s in my count I’m looking for that one pitch in the zone to crush.
Should I start keeping an eye on Jonathan Gettys already?
Yes! He’s going to be a great pitcher. (Jonathan is Michael’s younger brother and a rising sophomore at Gainesville. The 6’-2”, southpaw has already been clocked at 88 mph with his fastball.)
Last question. Better park: PETCO or Wrigley?
PETCO. Can’t beat California weather.
Well, that last question lost me. I mean, it’s clearly Wrigley Field by a landslide, but I may be biased. Anyway, I would again like to thank Michael Gettys for his time and wish him continued success this upcoming year. You can follow him and his journey on Twitter @Michaelgettys3.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 draft updates, prospect news and Cubs ramblings.