December 17, 2012
Bobby Brosnahan, nicknamed ‘Bobby B,’ ‘BB,’ and ‘Braz’ due to the tough pronunciation of his last name (pronounced braz’nahan), joined the Blue Jays organization last year after signing as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Michigan, an experience, the 23-year-old left-handed pitcher, explained as being a dream come true. “Having the opportunity to play professional baseball was always my biggest dream growing up,” he said. “Coming into my redshirt junior year at Michigan, I wanted to put myself in a situation to have that opportunity and I was able to do so. I remember talking to my area scout for the Blue Jays in the days leading up to the draft and I was hoping to get picked, but that obviously fell through.
“Luckily, I only had to wait about five minutes after the draft before I was offered to sign as a free agent. I couldn’t ask to be a part of a better organization.”
Brosnahan made his Blue Jays’ debut with the Vancouver Canadians on June 18th where he retired all nine batters he faced, striking out three in the process. While the young pitcher from Ann Harbor, Michigan looked calm and collected, Brosnahan admitted that he was both nervous and incredibly excited. “I was definitely amped up. That day was something I had been working towards for a long time and I wanted to prove to people that I belonged in professional baseball. I think my most vivid memory from that outing was the first batter hitting a missile at my first baseman for an out and my third baseman saying, “Welcome to pro ball.” After that I settled in, threw strikes, and I had a real good curveball that night.
“Our pitching coach gave us a special t-shirt if we retired nine straight batters and it was pretty cool to earn one in my very first outing!”
Brosnahan finished the season with the C’s playing in 10 games, recording a 2-2 record and a 4.50 ERA. In over 32 innings pitched, he struck out 16 and walked 8. Despite his personal success, the young pitcher admitted that his favourite moment was when his team won the NWL Championship. “Hands down, winning the championship was the best,” he said. “Throughout high school and college I had gotten close to winning championships, but couldn’t finish, so it was special to finally seal the deal.”
“Our coaches always said how hard it was to win a championship in the minor leagues and to have that chance in my first pro season was incredible. All of our hard work paid off and to get the chance to dog pile on the field with my teammates is a memory I will have with me forever.”
The southpaw further that his time his first year in pro-ball was amazing thanks in part to the great fans and the great atmosphere in Vancouver. “In college, I played in front of some pretty crazy crowds, but the fans at Nat Bailey Stadium are second to none. It was awesome to play in front of 5,000 people every night. Starting my career with the C’s was a great experience for me. The coaches and staff, my teammates, my host family and the fans all made this very special.”
Brosnahan specifically spoke about two of his teammates – RHP Tucker Frawley (8th round pick of 2012 draft) and RHP Jon Lucas. “Vancouver had a great group of guys. I got to know Tucker Frawley and Jon Lucas pretty well over the season. Tucker and I knew each other a little bit from college ball and ironically, he was the first person I saw when we got to Dunedin. He’s a pretty quiet kid, but he has a great sense of humor and is an up and coming rapper. Jon I met in Vancouver and we roomed together at the end of the year. I don’t know why, but he always brought his PS3 on the road and I would never lose to him in NHL 12.”
Brosnahan states that his competitiveness and eagerness to win lies not only with video consoles but also on the mound. “I’m a fierce competitor and have a lot of confidence in myself as a pitcher,” he said.
He further added that one of his best attributes is his pitch repertoire. “Right now I have three pitches, a fastball, a curveball and a changeup. One of my biggest strengths is that I can throw all three pitches for strikes in any count. I’m not a power pitcher, so I need to be able to mix my pitches well and keep hitters off balance. My curveball is my strikeout pitch and the pitch I will go to if I need to get out of a jam.”
Brosnahan joined the Blue Jays organization after spending three years with the University of Michigan, where he maintained a 9-17 record and a 5.29 ERA while recording 116 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings pitched.
“The University of Michigan gave me the opportunity to pursue my baseball career and ultimately put me in the position to become a professional baseball player,” he said. “In my freshman year, I was able to make an immediate impact and played a big role for my team. My sophomore year was a bit bumpy, but I learned a lot and was able to overcome several obstacles, which I believe really propelled me to have the year I did in my junior season.
“I had a lot of great experiences at Michigan, but I think my favorite was my junior year against Purdue, the best team in the Big Ten and nationally ranked. I got the win, throwing three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. It was our only win on the weekend and everyone was really pumped up after the game.”
While ‘Bobby B’ said he had many memorable days in baseball, he further stated that his worst day would have to be when he found out he would require Tommy John surgery.
“I remember throwing a pitch and hearing a loud pop in my ear and right away I knew something was wrong. Dr. Tim Kremchek sat me down in his office and told me that I would need Tommy John surgery. When you’re only 18 years old and you suffer an injury of that magnitude, it’s pretty scary. It was scary because it was the first and only major injury I’ve ever had. Luckily, I was able to get my surgery done by one of the premier surgeons in the country. Dr. Kremchek took a tendon from my hamstring and wove it into my elbow, which replaced my torn ulnar collateral ligament. It took over a year to recover because I was relatively young when I underwent the surgery, but my hard work through rehab really paid off in the long run.”
Aside for the help of Dr. Kremchek, Brosnahan stated that he would not be where he is today without the support of his family; specifically he thanks his father for all of the advice he has given him and the sacrifices he has made. “My dad is my role model and someone I have always looked up to. I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything he’s done for me.”
Going forward with the Blue Jays’ organization, Brosnahan states he does not mind whether he is used as a starter or a reliever, but wishes only to become a more complete baseball player. “I learned a lot in my first professional season and combined with my hard work this offseason, I hope to turn some heads and have a breakout year.”
“I plan on coming back to camp bigger and stronger than I’ve ever been in my career. My goal is to always earn a promotion to a higher level affiliate and to win championships.”