From humble beginnings, Ellis arrives in LA

A.J. Ellis, C, Dodgers
Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Ellis showed strong potential at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, but it wasn't necessarily as a player. He had the look of a future coach.

Still, Ellis decided to sign when the Dodgers drafted him in the 18th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. At the very least, a taste of professional baseball could give Ellis a head start in the coaching world.

Eleven years later, Ellis isn't ready to coach quite yet.

It was a long climb to the Major League level for Ellis. He debuted when he was 27 in 2008, but he didn't become a regular until '12. Ellis remains the Dodgers' starting catcher.

Ellis' brother, Josh, followed a similar path, excelling at Paul Dunbar High School in Lexington, Ky., and getting drafted in the 11th round by the D-backs in 2007 out of Wake Forest. But Josh, a pitcher, wasn't able to advance beyond Triple-A.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.