IN 2015, an 18-year-old Garrett Whitley was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 13th pick of the MLB Draft.
Fast forward to 2018 and the outfielder has his eyes on an Australian Baseball League Championship with the Perth Heat.
The Heat host the Canberra Cavalry in a best of three-game semi-final series this weekend, with the winner to play either the Brisbane Bandits or Melbourne Aces in the Championship Series.
Whitley has been crucial to the Heat’s success this year – hitting .265 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs to help his team to a second-place finish.
Despite fellow Rays prospects Zac Law (wedding), Mike Brosseau (injury) and Jake Fraley (personal reasons) departing the team, Whitley says he is up for the challenge of guiding the Heat to a 16th Claxton Shield.
“To be the only one left is sort of strange,” he said.
“The friends I came over with aren’t here anymore which wasn’t expected, but I have 25 new friends I’m playing with.”
Having narrowly missed out on All-Star Selection, Whitley is in great touch of late, hitting .308 with four homers in his last 10 games, and hopes to maintain his form at home to a red-hot Cavalry.
“I want to keep it rolling and pick up four more wins in these playoffs,” he said.
“To not have to travel and play in front of our own crowd is huge.
“The last time Canberra came here we put up 32 on them, so hopefully we can keep up that same momentum.”