On his way up: A local pitcher's journey to the majors
Former Wapakoneta Redskin baseball star Brian Garman is moving his way up through the minor league system, attributing his success to positive thinking and hard work.
Saturday and Sunday, Garman will try to instill those values to participants Brian Garman’s Pitching Camp in Wapakoneta.
While Garman found success with the Huntsville Stars at the AA level as a pitcher, he knows where he comes from and he owes a lot of his current and future success to Auglaize county.
“The value of hard work was instilled in me at a very young age. My mom and dad and my brother all taught me the value of hard work,” Garman said. “The thing about any level of baseball is that the guy who works the most, reaps the most reward. When I was younger, I worked with my brother.”
And that will be his message to participants this weekend. That is his message to the Wapakoneta varsity baseball team when they work out throughout the week.
That is his motto in life.
“I’m not going to get to the big leagues because I want to get to the big leagues. It’s not going to be simply handed to me. I’m going to have to work for it,” Garman said.
And that is his goal. To make it to the big leagues.
In 2012, Garman pitched in 19 games for Huntsville, pitching to a 3.00 ERA. He got 24 innings of work in, and had a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.54.
Garman said making the jump from High-A to AA baseball was difficult at first, but eventually he got right in the groove of things.
“I got promoted to AA and found success,” Garman said. “They say the biggest jump in baseball is from High-A to AA. I went to AA, struggled at first, but eventually found a lot of success. There are a lot of things I did well, and a lot of things I wish I would have done better.”
Garman said he had a shaky start in AA, but quickly settled in. In his last 10 appearances with Huntsville he gave up only one earned run.
“If you flop in AA, a team’s not afraid to send you home,” Garman said. “If you don’t perform well in AA, you’re done. That’s the level that can make or break your career.
“I might have surprised myself a little bit with my consistency in AA,” he said. “I threw the ball pretty well. For awhile there, I was a significant part of the bullpen.”
Garman started to think back to his time at Wapakoneta, and how lessons learned here helped him succeed where he is now.
“Baseball was what I always really wanted to do,” Garman said. “I was a freshman on varsity baseball. As a freshman I lacked confidence. I wasn’t assertive enough to out-work people in front of them.
“But at one point I stopped caring about outworking people in front of them.,” he said. “I knew what my plans were, it was to go play pro ball.”
Garman said there was a big difference between professional baseball and amateur baseball. He said on his college and high school teams, there was a unity and a sense of teamwork. In professional baseball he said that went away.
When I go to Spring Training, I’m in a locker room with 150 other guys,” Garman said. “Professional ball is very much a selfish man’s game. I have developed life-long friendships with a lot of guys in the minors, but me rooting them to the big leagues doesn’t put food on my table. I’ve got to get out of the minor leagues at some point.
“It’s a little bit selfish, but it’s a different game,” he said.
Garman has now been in the minor league system for the Milwaukee Brewers for three seasons. He graduated from Wapakoneta in 2006 and graduated from Cincinnati in 2010.
He hopes to be in the big leagues within a couple of years.
“I’m a very optimistic thinker, I’m a very upbeat thinker,” Garman said. “I’ve always said, it’s just a matter of time before I make it to the big leagues.
“Whether or not the Brewers have me in the big league plan is one thing,” he said. “But it is in my plan.”