Michael Gettys remains remarkably levelheaded for a man who is knocking on the door of making it to the big leagues.
Now 24, the Gainesville High graduate is only a few weeks away from reporting to spring training for the San Diego Padres in Peoria, Ariz., a northwest suburb of Phoenix. If he does well enough, Gettys will make the 26-man Opening Day roster for San Diego.
However, pressure to perform is the furthest thing from his mind. Gettys is getting his body and mind ready for the opportunity few players ever get a chance to experience.
“I have a strong faith, belief in God,” said Gettys. “I’m going to do everything I can to make it and leave it in God’s hands.”
That’s not his only major life event this year.
On Jan. 18, he married his longtime girlfriend, Katie, who he’s also bought a home with in Flowery Branch. With some time off after the holidays, Gettys said he got back in the batting cages Jan. 1, often with his friend and former Red Elephants teammate, Will Maddox — a minor league baseball veteran.
Gettys appears ready to make the jump. In 2019, he hit .256 with 31 homers and 91 RBIs for Triple-A El Paso.
However, he’s never content with what he’s done in the past, which is one of the reasons he’s made it this far.
“I’m never satisfied with what I’ve done, always pushing myself to get better,” he said.
A two-position star for the Red Elephants, he hit .377 with 11 homers, while also striking out 105 batters in 64 innings on the mound as a senior in 2014.
However, it’s with the bat in his hands and playing in the outfield which will hopefully be Gettys’ ticket to San Diego. Such a hot prospect out of high school, Gettys passed on the opportunity to play for the University of Georgia.
A second-round pick by San Diego (51st overall) in 2014, Gettys has been played all over the country in his first six years as a professional ball player.
A lot of his time has been in Texas.
His 2018 season was with Double-A San Antonio, hitting .230 with 15 HRs. Following that experience, Gettys took the chance after the 2018 season to pack up with Katie and play for three months with Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League. He said the lighter load of games during the week left ample opportunity to explore a different continent, staying on the southern coast of Australia in one of its most picturesque cities.
Living at the beach during Australia’s summer months, they took trips to wineries and traversed the islands that compose the Great Barrier Reefs.
It’s also where he popped the question to Katie and she said yes.
“It was more relaxed in Australia,” said Gettys, who played about four games per week in the ABL. “I loved it there.
“I got back to having fun playing baseball,”
With a full season at Triple-A under his belt, Gettys has seen better pitching in the process. In addition to his success at the plate, he also had a couple of multi-home run games for the Chihuahuas.
The thing Gettys will need to improve on is strikeouts, 160 and 168 in each of the past two seasons, respectively.
However, he has a competitive spirit to overcome any hurdles.
Gettys played baseball, football and basketball as a kid. But with seasons overlapping, he made the decision to play baseball exclusively once he got to high school at Gainesville.
Now, he’s on the cusp of living the ultimate dream with the love of his life by his side.