In June of 2016, Nick Andress was spending his nights working in the concession stands of Historic Grayson and spending his days taking summer courses at Armstrong State University. Oh, how things can change. Two weeks ago, Andress signed a free-agent contract to play for the Arizona League Angels, the rookie-ball affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
Nick’s journey to professional baseball has been anything but normal. The Katy, TX native signed with Georgia State University out of high school, but later transferred and played two seasons at West Georgia Junior College. He then transferred once more to play at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA.
During his college career, Nick was known for his electric fastball, which has been clocked as high as 95 MPH. However, control issues seemed to turn away some scouts. What they were overlooking is that Nick changed positions after high school and had only been pitched for a few years. Regardless, after lots of professional workouts and tryouts following his junior year at Armstrong, Andress was eventually passed upon in the MLB draft.
At that point, Nick started to turn more of his focus towards school and what would come next after baseball. He elected to pass up on playing collegiate summer ball to instead take summer courses and make some extra money working for the Savannah Bananas. He graduated in May with a degree in business finance.
“I heard about the Bananas and thought it would be cool to have a job around baseball,” said Andress, “It was a great experience.”
Nick was a model employee and became a part of the Bananas family during the inaugural season. Little did the Bananas fans, front office staff, or even the players and coaches know what type of fastball was refilling their popcorn and soda.
“Nick was one of our hardest workers on our game day staff and the fans loved him,” said owner Jesse Cole. “But what really stood out was how fast he could make a snow cone. He could truly do it all in our concession stand, but we never knew he had such talent on the field. All of us with the Bananas are proud of Nick and wish him great success with the Angels.”
Nick returned to Armstrong for his senior year and finally his maturity and growth started to get noticed. Nevertheless, Nick was passed on again in the 2017 MLB draft, which seemed like his last chance. But a couple weeks later, he got the call every player dreams of. The Angels had noticed Nick’s attitude, his potential, and especially his fastball. In a matter of days, his dream of professional baseball became a reality. With his signing, Nick became the 77th and final Armstrong State Pirate to ever ink a professional baseball contract.
“It’s been a smooth transition so far. I think college really prepared me for professional baseball,” said Andress.
Some would call this crazy. To us, it’s just another day in Banana-land. We here at the Savannah Bananas are so proud of the persistence and maturity that Nick has proven and can’t wait to follow his success! Go Bananas!