If Brett Platts keeps this up, he will be in the big leagues faster than he could have imagined – even if it’s been a much different path than he originally anticipated.
When he was 20 years old, the Dawgs Academy grad set a goal of making it to Major League Baseball (MLB) by the time he was 25.
In the matter of a few years, Platts has been able to ascend up the strength and conditioning world in baseball, first landing with the Chicago Cubs’ Dominican Republic program in 2022, before taking a job as the strength and conditioning coach of the Texas Rangers’ Single-A affiliate, the Down East Wood Ducks.
He’s looking forward to the opportunity to join a minor-league team to chase a championship.
“I’m excited to collaborate on all aspects of player development, athletic trainers, coaches, managers, and front-office personnel,” Platts said in a Twitter message to Alberta Dugout Stories.
“I’m a high-energy guy who enjoys having like-minded conversations with amazing people.”
That energy has served him well as he’s had to use it in changing directions more than a few times in his young career.
Growing up in Albany, Prince Edward Island, Platts fell in love with baseball at a young age.
He ascended through minor baseball programs in his home province, and Platts says he always looked up to fellow Islander Cole MacLaren.
That led him to a scout day being hosted by the Dawgs when he was in grade 10.
“I was a very raw player,” Platts told Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast in March 2022.
“I was very grit and grind, diving for baseballs and hopefully my passion for the game would just show through.”
He captured the attention of Tyler Hollick and the coaching staff, who liked what they saw and brought him to the program for the rest of his high school years.
THE WORST PAIN
Coming off of his Grade 12 year, Platts says he felt like a totally different player than he had in the past.
Everything was coming up the way he had hoped until an injury sustained during a basketball game in gym class changed everything.
“I went up for a rebound, I got a little shove, went down, and I heard a loud pop,” Platts recalled.
“I didn’t know anatomy like I know it now, but I was like, ‘What is going on?’”
He tried to power through it during baseball practice, but knew that something wasn’t right.
“It is the worst pain. It feels like a bone sticking out of your leg and you’re genuinely scared to look down.”
That pain turned out to be an ACL meniscus injury, which would require reconstructive surgery and rehab.
It was a heartbreaking turn of events for the young infielder, who was coming off what he felt was his best year ever and had committed to play at Southeastern Community College.
PUSHED IT TOO FAR
In spite of the injury, Platts was determined to play his usual style when he joined the Blackhawks for the 2016-2017 school year.
Unfortunately, he also showed up out of shape, growing from 180 pounds to 225 pounds.
“I show up and I’ve gained a significant amount of weight and I’m going in rehabbing that entire season,” Platts said. “I’m basically a redshirt and I can’t do much. I’m pushing it and I shouldn’t have been pushing it really.”
Heading into his sophomore season, he recalls feeling good, even hitting a home run in his first college game in the fall. However, his body started to deteriorate on him to the point where he couldn’t dive and do the things that he felt made him successful.
“Growing up, my jersey was always dirty – I could not keep that thing clean,” Platts said.
“I eventually got to the point where I had to go into the coach’s office and told him that if I couldn’t be me and if I couldn’t get my jersey dirty, then I felt like I was disrespecting the game.”
He had to find a new way to chase his dream, and little did he know, it would start with rediscovering himself.
He says they were part of a huge support system that inspired him to figure out what he wanted to do after his baseball career came to an end, and he quickly found his calling as he got himself back into shape.
Platts focused his education on kinesiology and psychology, earning a degree from Carleton University and several certifications before becoming a strength and conditioning coach with the Dawgs in 2019. He also started his own business, Athletic Realm.
His big break came in January 2022, when he was brought on by the University of Iowa for an internship. Just a few weeks later, he received a phone call from the Cubs, which kickstarted the interview process.
After being told he would hear back in a couple of days, Platts waited for a few extra days before finally getting the news he was hoping to hear.
“I’m over the moon,” Platts smiled. “We finish that conversation, hang up, and I’m screaming in the hallways like an absolute maniac.”
Platts had been offered a one-year contract to work with the Cubs’ prospects in the Dominican Republic.
The experience was everything Platts could have expected and even more, both professionally and personally.
He says he was able to work with some fantastic people and make relationships that will last forever.
Platts also helped implement specific testing and monitoring protocols for the Cubs’ academy, collecting and analyzing data to make sure players were developing physically in line with the demands on the field, while increasing strength and power qualities.
But it was the life experience that stood out most.
“Living and coaching in the Dominican Republic is a humbling experience,” Platts said.
“Often, we get caught up in our own personal conflicts, and I’m here to tell you that our day-to-day problems are nothing compared to what I’ve seen living there.”
He says he’s learned to appreciate and be thankful for everything he has, including the support of his parents, Amanda and Richard, and his girlfriend, Tayler.
ONE STEP CLOSER
Looking ahead to his new adventure with the Rangers, Platts says he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with an affiliate team and get one step closer to the goal he wrote down just a few short years ago.
“My dream of playing professional baseball dates back to my time with the Okotoks Dawgs,” he said.
“The coaching staff taught us what it means to have a championship mindset, and I took those same leadership principles with me once my baseball career was over to forge my path into strength and conditioning.”
Platts’ rise has even impressed his former coaches, who give him credit for his hard work and desire to be part of the game he loves.
“It’s really cool, and it shows that whatever you put your mind to, it is possible,” Hollick told Saltwire.com in March 2022.
“I think Brett would probably credit the Dawgs a lot for what he’s done and what he did down in school, but the majority of the credit goes to him for all the work he is putting in.”
For Platts, he’s just getting started.
“My passion is baseball,” he said. “My goal remains the same: reach the top and become a major league strength and conditioning coach.”
Given the time it’s taken for Platts to get to where he is now, he might not be waiting very long.