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After Matt’s first and second seasons we wrote recaps so of course we have to keep the tradition going now that Fall League is over and the offseason is officially here!
This recap will be extra fun after the monster year Matt had on the field. And Grainger and I traveling with Matt full-time for the first time. And Dreams and Seams getting some legs. MAN all the things happened this season, and we’re so excited to try and recap it all.
First things first – Matt spent the entire 2017 season with the Tulsa Drillers (Dodgers AA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Matt’s season stats courtesy of MiLB.com
Games played: 116
Batting Average: .326 (first in the Texas League)
On Base Percentage: .883 (first in Texas League)
Slugging Percentage: .505 (second in Texas League)
Doubles: 31 (tied for first in Texas League)
Home runs: 15
RBIs: 69 (tied for fifth in Texas League)
Playoff Numbers – 10 games, .357 BA, 3 doubles, 1 home run and 5 RBIs
Arizona Fall League Numbers – 17 games, .242 BA, 6 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBIs
And not to mention some accolades he picked up along the way.
Texas League Player of the Year
Texas League Batting Title – Drillers first ever
Texas League (midseason) All-Star
Entered Dodgers Prospect List at #30
Invite to the Arizona Fall League
Arizona Fall League All-Star
Up to this point in Matt’s career, he has flown under the radar — which we’re both perfectly fine with. But he really played his way into conversations and made the right people take notice with his play this season in AA.
I asked Matt a couple of questions that I feel are important to see and follow in this process.
Q: What was the biggest difference from Year Two to Year Three for you?
A: The biggest difference from year two to year three is probably the mental game/approach. When you move up in levels, guys don’t “hold you hand” anymore. You always hear the saying “It’s your career do with it what you want.” That saying is completely true. You’re expected of more as you move up levels. It’s your decision how hard you’re going to work. Are you willing to put in the early work? Are you willing to go to that Monday gym bus on the road? Are you disciplined enough to make a solid routine and stick to it? Obviously we all have the resources to guide us through these things, but they aren’t going to be forced on us.
Q: What is one takeaway you have from this season?
A: I really saw how mentally strong I had to be to get through the entire season in AA which I think will be a lot of it’s like at the next levels. The guys that you face in AA are really good. They know how to pick you a part so you have to work extra on reading the scouting reports and refining your approach at the plate to help give yourself the best chance for success. This can be mentally exhausting but staying committed will put you in the best position.
Next each of us picked three season highlights.
Jesica’s season highlights
1) Our little family being together for the entire season for the first time
I’ve said it a lot, but I didn’t realize how much I missed being here — meaning traveling with Matt and going to every game and really living this journey — until I was here. This past year has been the best year of our lives so far. We had so much fun together. Seeing Matt get to live out his dream everyday and being right there for all his success and being there for all the off day adventures was really something special. And also being there when he did have a tough night was crucial for us too. Anddd not trying to be take any credit here butttt Matt did have his best season yet when Grainger and I were traveling… ;)
2) Traveling to new (and familiar) places
The only place we had visited in the Texas League before was Corpus Christi — because we lived there. Getting to go back and see old friends and visit my old work place was fun. And of course visiting the new places together and going to new stadiums was a blast. I don’t think we would have ever really visited these places if it weren’t for baseball. Head over to the vlog page to see the stadium tours in each city (except Midland).
3) Meeting so many great people
From other WAGs to season ticket holders to Drillers staff to Tulsa media to regular fans, I met some of the nicest, helpful, greatest people I’ve ever met. With the help of the Drillers staff, couple of WAGs sitting at the table and players for donating equipment, I put together a silent auction for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts specifically for the area where I lived and covered at the papers. We raised $5,420! I was blown away with the support of the fans and Drillers staff. But just a testament to how supportive everyone we met was this season. I can’t thank them enough for making this season so fun and special.
Matt’s season highlights
Obviously I agree with Jes’ highlights — having her and G there made the season just feel whole. But I chose all on-the-field highlights.
1) Walk-off home run
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to hit a walk-off home run. I’ve had one or two walk-off singles, but this definitely tops those. It was a day against my buddies, Jamie and Drew, who played for Corpus. Going to the bottom of the ninth we were trailing 10-8. Rios hit a two-run homer to tie it up. The next guy got out, and I came up with two outs. I honestly wasn’t thinking of the walk-off because there wasn’t anyone on base. I remember I hit two balls foul that would have been home runs if fair. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, I got a fastball down and in. I squared it up and knew it had a chance. The ball went into the Corpus bullpen (where Jamie was because he had an off day.) It was an out of body experience. I remember rounding third base and seeing the guys ready to attack me at home plate. That was a cool feeling.
2) Winning the Texas League batting title
This was a personal accolade that I was super happy to get mainly for the fans. If you told me at the beginning of the season that I would be competing for a batting title I would have said you’re crazy. Coming down to the last week of the season it was between three guys. I really didn’t care about the title because the batting average isn’t the stat that the Dodgers or I use to evaluate the season. But still the batting title holds a really cool accolade in baseball. The fans in Tulsa took notice that I was contention. I then started to feel the pressure. I knew they wanted me to get it pretty bad because they hadn’t had a batting title in the history of the Drillers — 41 years. Sure enough it came down to the last game. BJ Boyd of Midland, Ian Miller of Little Rock and myself were all tied at .326. Ian Miller was in AAA for the last month or two so his number was official. We played before BJ and Midland that day. I went 1-for-2 and came out of the game. It was tough decision but I was a head of Miller by a few decimals. Nothing against Miller, but I decided —with the help of a couple teammates and coaches — that either BJ or myself should win because we had been in the Texas League the entire season. So the pressure was on BJ to get a couple of hits to beat me out. He didn’t, and I ended up getting the title by a few decimal points. Obviously I was happy of the accolade but I was really happy I could bring it home for the fans of Tulsa.
3) AA report
Coming into spring training I knew I had a chance to start in AA, but it wasn’t certain. I knew I had to prove myself and show that I was ready. I showed up to camp a couple days early and was ready to go to work. Two or three weeks in, I had a meeting with Gabe Kapler and some other guys in player development. They told me that I was going to break camp and report to Tulsa. Obviously I was excited for the promotion, but I was also really excited about the group of guys that would be reporting to Tulsa as well. Kyle Garlick, Mike Ahmed, Tim Locastro, Edwin Rios, Isaac Anderson, Andrew Sopko just to name a few. Through my first couple years of pro ball, we all have kind of been with each other along the way. It doesn’t happen in pro ball very often where you break camp with a team full of good guys that you enjoy playing with. We were lucky to have that, and we knew it was going to be a fun season.
WOWZERS – that was (another) long one! But that’s how we do it here on Dreams and Seams. Thank you guys SO MUCH x 10 for following along and supporting us all season! We look forward to bringing you guys some offseason blogs and vlogs!
Matt & Jesica Beaty
Welcome in to dreams and seams! A tell-all blog about our career dreams and path to reaching those dreams with some commentary about sports and life plus some videos too.
"Strive for the impossible because it makes the possible seem effortless." -Matt Beaty