By Jake Dowling, Icon summer intern
Imagine being one of the most successful baseball players in the state of Ohio, you recently graduated from college, and have endless possibilities ahead. Now imagine being picked up by a professional baseball team, joining its staff, going all throughout the country, oh, and making a little more money on the side.
This is the life of Austin Blaski, the Milwaukee Brewers new pitching prospect, who was drafted 665th overall in the 21st round in Major League Baseball's draft earlier this month.
"It was exciting to see my name on the screen and get the phone call saying that I was a Brewer," Blaski said in a statement on Marietta College's athletics website. "All of the hard work has paid off."
Blaski, a native of Pandora, recently graduated from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, where he led the Pioneers to back-to-back division III national titles.
"Not a lot of Division III guys get drafted, so this shows how strong the Marietta program is," Blaski said. "But now we are all equal. If you can play, you can play. It does not matter if you came from Division III, you have to play and compete. We have our foot in the door and now we have to perform."
In his college career, Blaski amassed a combined 23-5 record as a starting pitcher in 210 2/3 innings pitched, striking out 211 batters while allowing just 76 walks.
"Austin jumped onto the scene last year and won the Conference Pitcher of the Year award," said Pioneers' coach Brian Brewer in a statement. "The scary thing is, Austin has a lot of room for improvement. He has the frame and the arm strength to develop into a special player."
However, that was the past and this is now.
"He went to Arizona last Wednesday to start training in the Brewers rookie league," said Steve Blaski, Austin's father. "He started playing June 21."
Blaski will play in the Brewers rookie league this season, but next season, he will be in the Brewers minor league system where anything can happen.
"He hopes to play A ball next year in Appleton, Wisconsin," Blaski said.
Blaski said that once his son hits the minors, more opportunities will present themselves.
"A scout told him that if he lands in A or AA ball and a player from the majors is injured, they'll pick up anyone who is currently hot and he could be that one."
If Blaski continues to improve, he will make his way quickly to Milwaukee.
"I think he is going to take it as it comes," Blaski said. "A scout told him, 'if you're hot, in two weeks it could be you."'
In addition, if he makes it to the big leagues, he better be prepared to face his favorite team growing up.
"He was actually a Reds fan growing up, until last week of course," Blaski said.