Drew Ellis was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where he attended high school as a multi-sport athlete. He went on to play for the University of Louisville, and then was drafted with the Diamondbacks 2nd pick 44th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. Assigned to Short Season A level Hillsboro, Ellis hit .227/.327/.403 in 181 at-bats, with 8 doubles and 8 home runs, and a 24:45 BB:K ratio. Assigned to Advanced A ball Visalia this year, Ellis is hitting .264/.352/.479 in 144 at-bats, with 13 doubles and 6 home runs and an 18:25 BB:K ratio. I contacted Drew Ellis via Instagram, and he agreed to do a short, quick, and informal interview. I’ve edited the interview for clarity and readability.
Wesley Baier: What’s your approach to the game offensively, and what’s your approach to the game defensively?
Drew Ellis: My approach offensively is definitely to be on time with the fastball. I feel like if I’m on time with the heater, then it’s easier to recognize off-speed. I kind of strayed away from that a little but this season and and I haven’t felt like myself. The last few games I’ve really concentrated on that approach and I feel way more comfortable and feel like myself again.
Wesley Baier: How did your time playing for the University of Louisville influence the way you play the game today?
Drew Ellis: Playing at the University of Louisville changed my whole career and perspective on baseball. I redshirted my freshman year, and I think if I don’t redshirt, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at right now. They instill a competitive mentality in you and want you to embrace competition. I feel it’s kind of given me an edge over some guys just because I know how to really compete.
Wesley Baier: Michael Jordan and Randy Johnson were my sports idols growing up, who were yours? Which athletes do you think influenced the way you play the game today?
Drew Ellis: Obviously Lebron James is a guy who I think most athletes would say they look up to. He is the ultimate competitor, even in his 15th year in the NBA. Another guy I really look up to is my college coach, Dan McDonnell. He truly has changed my life and the way I play(ed) the game of baseball. Without him, I’m not where I am today.
Wesley Baier: What keeps you motivated throughout the long 150+ game seasons?
Drew Ellis: This is my first full season, so a lot of things are different this year. I think a big part of staying locked in for the 140 games, is making sure I feel prepared each day before the game. Making sure I go through my routines, getting enough sleep, recovering, and doing little things to make sure my body feels good and is prepared every day
Wesley Baier: What was your reaction when the Diamondbacks drafted you with the 44th overall pick?
Drew Ellis: I was super excited. Originally my agent had told me I was going to be picked late first to second rounds, and I know we had a deal in place with Boston at pick 62 or 63 whichever they had, but the Dbacks called me around pick 42 and told me they were taking me at 44 and I was filled with all kinds of emotion. I was glad my closest friends and family were able to see that special moment.
Wesley Baier: What is your mental approach as you prepare for gameday? Do you have any weird rituals or habits before or during the game?
Drew Ellis: I don’t have any weird rituals or anything. I try to stick to my routine as much as possible, not think about it too much and just go play. I try to have as much fun as possible and that keeps me relaxed whether I’m having a good or bad day at the yard.
Wesley Baier: Who do you think currently is the best player at your position, third base? Which player in the Major Leagues do you admire most?
Drew Ellis: I’ve got to go with Nolan Arenado at third. He does it all. He’s a special player to watch and hopefully I can compete against him one day
Wesley Baier: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Drew Ellis: Something that’s always stuck with me is how you play is a reflection on your preparation. I try to prepare myself in the best way to succeed each day, and I think that will be big thought my career
Wesley Baier: When you go back home to Louisville, what is the one place you gotta go to get something to eat?
Drew Ellis: When I go home I have to get Raising Canes. It’s my go to fast food restaurant
Wesley Baier: What are your non-baseball interests?
Drew Ellis: All I do is play Fortnite in my free time. I like to hangout, watch movies, and I golf in the off-season.
Wesley Baier: How did your parents influence your career choices?
Drew Ellis: My parents always encouraged me to play multiple sports. I think being a multisport athlete through high school helped me a ton when I got to college. You build different relationships and it allows you to be in shape year round.
Wesley Baier: What are you most proud of?
Drew Ellis: I bought my parents a car last Christmas to say thank you for all they’ve done for me and my brothers. They’ve made a ton of sacrifices for us, so hooking them up with some new wheels was the least I could do to repay them.
I ended the interview at that point and thanked Drew for his time. You can follow him on instagram @_drewellis