By STEVE KRAH
As Tre’ Gantt goes to the ballpark each day in his second season as a professional baseball player, he always packs his top tool.
“It’s my speed,” says Gantt, who is in the Cleveland Indians system with the Low Class-A Lake County (Ohio) Captains, where Luke Carlin is the manager and Pete Lauritson the hitting coach. “I can cover ground in the outfield. When I get on base I’m trying to wreak havoc out there.
“I’ll have the pitcher think about me rather than the hitter and leave something over the plate for him.”
After logging 37 games and hitting .197 with the Arizona League Indians in 2017, the 2018 season has seen Gantt move around. He played six games for the High Class-A Lynchburg (Va.) Hillcats, 40 for the Short Season Class-A Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers, one for the Triple-A Columbus (Ohio) Clippers before making his first appearance in the Lake County lineup Aug. 22.
Going into the Captains’ last three games of the Midwest League schedule, Gantt had played a total of 55 games with a .188 average, one home run, two triples, five doubles, 10 runs batted in, 21 runs scored and five stolen bases.
Gantt, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder who swings and throws from the left side, was selected in the 29th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft after three seasons at Ohio State University (2015-17).
With the Buckeyes, Gantt played in 139 games (109 as a starter) and hit .294 with two homers, three triples, 22 doubles, 40 RBIs, 80 runs and 26 stolen bases.
In 2017, he made 55 starts and hit .315 with two homers, two triples, 13 doubles, 18 RBIs, 46 runs and 14 stolen bases. He was usually playing left field and batting No. 1 or 2 in the order.
With head coach Greg Beals guiding the team and promoting a spirit of “brotherhood,”, OSU won 35 games in 2015, 44 in 2016 and 22 in 2017.
“We went through a lot of ups and downs at Ohio State,” says Gantt. “My sophomore year was a pretty good year. We won the Big Ten Tournament and went out to (an NCAA) regional.
“Junior year was the opposite of that. It was a down year. We had to stick together, work hard together and feed off each other.”
Gantt has three semesters left toward a Sport Industry degree from Ohio State.
What about the adjustment to pro baseball?
“It’s an everyday thing,” says Gantt, who turned 22 in May. “You’ve got to be ready to play and give your all every single day
“With hitting, you’ve got to be on time for the fastball. That’s the biggest thing.”
Gantt played three seasons at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind. (2012-14). Born in Davenport, Iowa, he moved to Missouri in second grade and then on to central Indiana in 10th grade.
At HSE, his head coach was Scott Henson.
“I got a lot of work ethic from him,” says Gantt of Henson. “He taught us about going about our business, working hard and not taking any days off — a lot of positive stuff.”
Gantt hit .411 with four homers, four triples, 13 doubles, 28 RBIs and 25 runs as a junior in 2013 as he was named honorable mention all-state, all-Hoosier Crossroads Conference and the Hamilton County Player of the Year by two outlets. He was also chosen for the Indianapolis Star Super Team.
In Gantt’s senior year with the Royals, he hit .371 with nine RBIs and 26 runs scored and was an all-region central team selection.
After moving to Hoosier State, Gantt played three summers of travel baseball with the Indiana Prospects and one with the Indiana Blue Jays.
Tre’ is the son of Kelly and Jodi Gantt of Fishers, Ind. He has an older sister named Tori (23).
Tre’ Gantt, a Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate who played three baseball seasons at Ohio State University, is now in the Cleveland Indians system. The swift outfielder was drafted in 2017. (Steve Krah Photo)