The Rays started with Clemson corner infielder Richie Shaffer in the 2012 MLB Draft. And then they went with 5 consecutive high school picks. Finally in the 7th round they returned to the college ranks but they ended up with a very interesting player in Marty Gantt.
Gantt is a little guy. Perfect Game from a few years ago listed him at 6’0″, 160. But in his official bio for the College of Charleston, where he is coming out as a senior, Gantt is listed at just 5’9″, 167, and that appears to be more accurate. A little guy getting drafted is somewhat unlikely. But that isn’t Gantt’s only problem. Gantt was born with an underdeveloped right hand and his fingers are only half the size of an average hand. But Gantt hasn’t let that stop him. He’s more than just a great story- he is a legitimate baseball player.
In 2012, Gantt was a third-team All-American following an incredible season, posting a .373/.483/.614 line with 20 doubles, 11 homers, 46 RBI, and 29 stolen bases in 38 tries. He led the College of Charleston in both extra-base hits and stolen bases. He had 29 stolen bases- the rest of the team had 34. Wow.
Gantt gets the most out of all his abilities. He throws left but bats right-handed by necessity because of his hand. He features a good, compact swing and hits the ball pretty hard with some power- once again incredible because of his hand. On the basepaths, he has just slightly above-average speed but excellent instincts. And defensively in the outfield he somehow makes the plays with good instincts in terms of reading flyballs and despite being a natural righty, he has developed a slightly above-average arm and even did some lefty pitching in high school. Gantt isn’t exactly a 5-tool player, but he has solid tools all-around, pretty incredible.
Gantt was an underdog from the start yet somehow has persevered to get to this point. The Rays have to love his character and he has some legitimate tools that play up because of his outstanding feel for the game. They’ll get him signed and see what he can do. His story is already incredible. And the farther he goes, the more amazing it will be.