Q&A With Rays 7th Round Pick Marty Gantt

In the seventh round of the draft, the Rays selected College of Charleston outfielder Marty Gantt. Gantt, who has succeeded despite an underdeveloped right hand, led College of Charleston this season with a .373 average while hitting 11 home runs. Inside, Gantt, who has already signed with the Rays, discusses being drafted, overcoming struggles with his hand, his strengths on the field and more.

School: College of Charleston
Born: 2/11/1990
B/T: R/L
HT/WT: 5-11/175

• As a senior at College of Charleston, was named a Louisville Slugger third-team All-American after batting .373 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI, 68 runs scored, 20 doubles, 29 stolen bases, 45 walks, a .483 on-base percentage and .614 slugging percentage.

• Selected as a semifinalist for the 2012 Dick Howser Award, given to the top amateur player in the country, and was named Southern Conference Player of the Year.

• Helped lead the Cougars to the Southern Conference regular-season title and their second NCAA bid in three years before losing to Georgia Tech in the regionals.

• Hit .329 with 7 home runs and 44 RBI in 61 games as a junior with the Cougars in 2011.

• Prior to his time at Charleston, went to Spartanburg Methodist College (JC) and was named All-Region both seasons he played there.

• Named Class AAAA Player of the Year as a junior at North Augusta after posting a 9-3 record with 161 strikeouts in 84 innings as a pitcher and a .486 average with 16 doubles as an outfielder.

• Becomes the 2nd-highest drafted outfielder out of College of Charleston, behind only NYY Brett Gardner who was drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 2005 June Draft.


Rays Digest: What was the moment like when you found out you were drafted?

Marty Gantt: I was at my house, I was actually sitting there by myself and I was just watching on the computer. I saw my name pop up and it was just exciting, you're kind of wondering if it's real or if you're dreaming. I didn't really know what to think at the time. That's the first time I've ever been drafted and it was a really exciting moment for me.

Rays Digest: Were you at all surprised to be taken by the Rays? Had you been in contact with anyone from the team before the draft?

Marty Gantt: Yeah I talked a couple times to a scout. He called me a couple times in the weeks prior to the draft. He actually called me probably about 10-15 minutes before they actually picked me and asked me if I would sign for the money they were asking and I told him I'd definitely do that.

Rays Digest: So have you signed a deal yet?

Marty Gantt: I actually signed two days ago, on Thursday morning.

Rays Digest: What did it feel like to actually sign your name on the contract and officially become a professional baseball player?

Marty Gantt: It was good just knowing that I was definitely going to have the opportunity to play at the next level after college. It's just getting better, I'm getting ready to start my professional career here shortly.

Rays Digest: Do you know where you will start playing?

Marty Gantt: I report Tuesday to Hudson Valley in New York.

Rays Digest: You just finished your career at College of Charleston. What would you say was the highlight of your time there, what are you most proud of?

Marty Gantt: The thing I'm most proud of is winning the SoCon regular season championship and getting a bid to the regionals. It's been a couple years since we got to an NCAA regional and I had never been a part of one because I was a transfer from junior college. NCAA selection day and seeing our name pop up in that regional was probably my most exciting moment in college.

Rays Digest: When you were born, you had to have your right fingertips amputated. This has been a struggle for you at times but has also led things like your teammates affectionately calling you "Nubs." What does it mean for you to overcome that to make it to professional baseball and how do you feel going through what you have has helped you?

Marty Gantt: I think it's helped me to get through adverse situations. I know that if I can overcome the hand issues that I have dealt with in life, I can overcome almost anything. It's helped me prepare myself for baseball, because baseball is a hard sport and you go through ups and downs, but if I can overcome the hand issues I can overcome anything.

Rays Digest: What would say your strengths on the field are?

Marty Gantt: I think I can hit to all parts of the field and I have gap power. My instincts are probably the best thing that I have, my instincts and my speed.

Rays Digest: And what are you trying to improve about your game?

Marty Gantt: Defense is probably the part that I need to improve on the most. I mean I'm a good outfielder, but I'm not above major league average. I'm just the middle of the pack, I guess.

Rays Digest: Is there a player you look up to or try to model your game after?

Marty Gantt: Ty Cobb. He always played the game hard. You never know if you're going to be able to play again, and when he went out there he gave everything 100 percent. That's just the way I want to be.

Rays Digest: Given what you know about the Rays organization and the fact that they are pretty well known for developing young talent, what does it mean to you to be a part of the Rays?

Marty Gantt: It's a winning team, they've been really good for the past couple years and they're in the race to win the AL every year. They've brought up some good prospects, so I know I'm going to get good coaching. Knowing that I'm going to get the chance to play day-in-and-day-out is always a good thing.

Eric Vander Voort is the Hudson Valley beat writer for Rays Digest You can follow him on Twitter at @ecvandervoort.


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