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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brian Garman: Getting to Know the Former Milwaukee Brewers Pitching Prospect

If you are left-handed and a pitcher, there may be a future for you in baseball. Especially if you have some talent. Former Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer Brian Garman is finding that out as he works his way towards the major leagues.

The 25-year-old southpaw attended Wapakoneta High School in Ohio before moving on and having a stellar career with the University of Cincinnati.

The Brewers made him their 17th-round draft choice in 2010 and promptly started developing Garman as a reliever. Through four seasons, he has become a very effective bullpen piece, appearing in a combined 127 games (four starts) and going 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning. He has pitched at Double-A for parts of each of the past two seasons, and 2014 should be a pivotal year for him, as he is on the verge of the big leagues.

Last offseason, Garman answered some questions about his career. Regrettably, his answers are just getting posted now but he is an intriguing prospect, and more importantly, a nice guy. 

*UPDATE* Unfortunately, Milwaukee released Garman earlier this offseason following some troubles he had with injuries. Hopefully, he will be able to bounce back and resume his major league aspirations with another team.

Make sure to check out his story and give him a follow on Twitter because he may just be pitching at a major league stadium near you in the not so distant future.

Brian Garman Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: My favorite player when I was a kid was Nolan Ryan. I am too young to remember watching him pitch but my father always talked about him and it grew on me. I knew I wanted to pitch, and Nolan was the guy to watch.

As I got older, through high school and college, I really took to Roy Oswalt. Because of his small stature, I could relate to having to overcome being smaller than most, as far as pitchers go. He always seemed to be attacking hitters with no fear, and I feel like that is a guy to try to emulate.

How did you come to attend the University of Cincinnati?: Cincinnati hosted a Nike Baseball Camp when I was in high school. I didn't have any knowledge of UC prior to this camp. I came to the camp just as they were opening up their brand new, multi-million dollar facilities – new weight room, new ball diamond and club house. There was nothing better in the nation at that time. 

During the camp I caught the eye of the coaches, and they followed me from there. When it came to my junior year in high school and the recruiting picked up, Cincinnati was the first to call. They seemed excited about getting me on campus, and they had a good offer along with the top-notch facilities. I couldn't turn it down. I had a great four years there. 

Can you describe what your 2010 draft day experience was like?: My draft day was not at all the way I pictured it as a kid. I always knew it would happen, although I wasn't sure when or how it would go, and if you would have asked me to describe it, it wouldn't have been close to the way it actually happened.

My senior season at Cincinnati was a strong season, undoubtedly the best of the four, so I anticipated being drafted. I had been contacted by all MLB teams and had heard several things from the scouts that looking back on it now I never should have bought into. I was told the latest I was going to be drafted was 10th round from five or six different scouts. I was drafted in the 17th round. I was not happy. As I was watching some high school guys and some of my friends getting drafted in the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 12th, and 14th rounds, I was pissed and I wasn't hiding it. So, to burn off some frustration, I left the house to go running. I left the house without anyone noticing; unintentionally. I ran to the track, and started running 100 yard sprints mumbling to myself that I wasn't good enough to get drafted in the top ten rounds as motivation to keep running. I ran home completely exhausted and walked in the door to my mom asking where the hell I had been because the Brewers called and drafted me in the 17th round. My reply was, ‘Good... took 'em long enough.’  I called my scout and we handled the rest of the contract/signing plans over the phone. 

What kind of feedback about your training and performance have you been getting from the Brewers organization?: I have not been told too much. On the training side of things they seem to be pleased. As far as performance goes, they don't say too much to me. I don't get too wrapped up in compliments or criticism. At this age I know what a strong performance is and what is not. If I am throwing the ball well then things will take care of themselves. 

Which pitches do you throw; and which is your best; and which do you believe needs the most work?: I throw a two-seam, four-seam fastball, curveball, slider, changeup. I wouldn't say that I have a best pitch, just a pitch that isn't the best, and that is my changeup. That is what needs the most work, but with that said, if I just throw it with confidence then it could be just as good as the others. I like to mix it up and throw all my pitches in any count, so I try not to label any as my best. 

Have you been surprised by the success you have had thus far?: I don't want to say that I am surprised by success because that is what I work for and I expect to have success. I have also had plenty of struggles along the way. I am not surprised by either successes or struggles. I understand it is part of the process and part of the game. I would like to think that during times of struggle that maybe I can surprise others with a comeback. There are plenty of lessons learned from both.

Are you comfortable being labeled as a left-handed specialist, or do you think you are capable of ever more, like starting or closing?: I am not particularly fond of the label left handed specialist. Hitters are hitters; I don't care from which side of the plate they choose to stand. I have been facing right handed hitters my entire life, I have never faced an all left-handed line-up, so I have some experience getting out right handed hitters. As far as starting or closing, I will pitch at any point throughout the game that the organization or manager feels I can have success and be an asset to the team. I will pitch whenever they call my number and hope it is often. I just want the ball. I don't care when.

Can you talk a little bit about the work you have done in the off-season teaching and working with youth?: I spend my offseason keeping busy. It is an opportunity to make slightly more money than the life-changing minor league salary I make, and a chance for me to teach the game to kids. I run my own pitching camp in my hometown and I help others with camps throughout the region. I also work with the Wapakoneta High School varsity baseball team five or six days a week. We lift, condition, talk mental game, and even do yoga classes during the offseason. I give individual lessons in the evenings as well. I substitute teach four or five days a week for a little money and to keep some structure. I find myself interacting with youth in almost everything I do during the offseason. I enjoy doing all that I do. I like to try to teach the game, but even if it's not baseball related I like to try to make an impact and try to create opportunities for kids. 

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

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