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Andrew Bellatti's Incredible Journey

From the draft, to a horrible accident, to jail, and finally the majors.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On January 22nd, 2010, Andrew Bellatti's life changed forever. He was driving his Ford Mustang and like a typical 18 year old, he was flaunting his muscle car. It was a rainy night and Bellatti was approaching his former high school. Bellatti had been drafted by the Rays the past June in the 12th round of the annual draft. Anyway, it was a single lane road with a speed limit of 55, and Bellatti was nearly going over 80, when suddenly another vehicle pulled out and cut in front of him.

Bellatti quickly swerved into the oncoming traffic lane to try and sped around the vehicle (which quickly sped up in an attempt to not allow Bellatti to pass). As Bellatti finally passed the vehicle at a high speed, he lost control of his car and veered again into oncoming traffic, this time colliding head on with a vehicle. The collision killed the driver and seriously injured his son.

Bellatti was able to pitch during the 2010 season, due to the short season of the rookie level Princeton Rays. His trial came in November, and he plead guilty to the charge of vehicular manslaughter, but thanks to the mercy of the widow of the deceased (whom Bellatti had written a letter to apologizing profusely for what he had done), he only served a few months. During the time since the accident, Bellatti has completely given up driving, relying on public transportation, family, friends, and teammates to get him from place to place.

Andrew Bellatti was drafted by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. The Rays have only had two other selections from the draft appear in the majors (Andrew Heaney, who didn't sign, and Zac Rosscup), and he'll be the first to appear with the Rays. Bellatti made his professional debut at the age of 17 with the Rays GCL team.

The next season, following the January accident, Bellatti was a starting pitcher for the Princeton team and was decent enough to earn a promotion the next season to Hudson Valley. Bellatti would continue to slowly climb his way up the team's organization latter, being converted in a reliever during that time, until he reached Durham following spring training this year.

Now, due to all the injuries the Rays have sustained this year that have left them, and ultimately, the Bulls short-staffed in their rotation has allowed Bellatti to slide back into a starter's role. So far in five games with Durham, Bellatti sports a 2.11 ERA with 8.44 K/9 and 2.11 BB/9 in 21.1 innings pitched.

Bellatti possess a decent fastball that's in the low-to-mid 90's, to go along with a good slider that creates deception and mixes well with his four-seamer. He's seems like a good possibility to serve as a spot starter for Sunday's game, but he's still only 23 years old, so he has amble time to work and possibly eventually stick around.


Draysbay Fanshot of Bellatti's incident.

Rays Colored Glasses story of Bellatti prior to spring training.