Jared Gates has quickly found his groove after coming back from hamate surgery. I visited with him earlier this week for a feature for Hawgs Illustrated magazine. He’s quiet, but articulate. It is going to be a fun story. He still has a nasty looking scar where he had the surgery in the palm of his right hand. He does not wear batting gloves.
As Jax Biggers said, “You will see one player out of every four teams you play who does not wear batting gloves. They are free at this level. I understand why someone might not if you had to buy them, but they give them to us in several styles. He doesn’t like them and who can argue with the way he hits. He is an elite hitter.”
Gates is from Wichita, Kan., but was not offered by Wichita State, a bit of a mystery. He was recruited by the Shockers for two years, but they never pulled the trigger (and no one else did) so he went to Iowa West CC to play two years. All he did there was hit .434 in JC, taking his team to the JUCO Final Four and was player of the year in his district. His career average in four years of high school was .448, including .612 as a junior.
Arkansas offered after his freshman season, and he signed early. I’m told the reason everyone had trouble pulling the trigger in high school is because no one could project a position. He played shortstop in high school, but wasn’t considered a reliable defender. He played second base in JC, but that wasn’t a strong suit, either. He was projected as a corner infielder at Arkansas. He’s worked hard on his defense at Arkansas and has improved considerably.