When he left Colerain High for the University of Cincinnati in 2005, Dan Osterbrock was a two-pitch pitcher who wasn’t fully convinced that he was good enough to succeed on the college level.
Three years later, he holds the school record for career victories and is on the threshold of fulfilling his childhood goal of playing professional baseball.
Osterbrock, a junior left-hander, is projected to be picked among the first 10 rounds of this week’s major league baseball draft, possibly as high as the sixth round.
“I’m a little nervous and kind of excited,” Osterbrock said Monday. “This is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life. Everything I’ve worked for is right here.”
Osterbrock is one of three UC players who have a chance to be selected when the draft begins Thursday. The others are Princeton High School’s Josh Harrison, a second baseman who was the Big East Conference co-player of the year; and Springboro product Tony Campana, who led the Big East with 44 stolen bases.
UC coach Brian Cleary said there also has been some interest in third baseman Mike Spina, outfielder Cameron Satterwhite (Moeller), catcher Ryan Baker and pitcher Michael Hill.
A huge Bearcat basketball fan as a kid, Osterbrock, who has the UC C-paw logo tattooed on his back, is proud to hold the school record of 21 career wins.
“That means a lot,” Osterbrock said. “They’ve been playing baseball here for over 100 years. Guys like Sandy Koufax came through here. To have my name on top is a heck of an honor.”
Koufax, a Hall of Famer who is considered one of the greatest left-handed pitchers of all time, played only one year at UC before signing with the Dodgers.
Osterbrock throws in the range of 88 to 91 mph and has developed a changeup that has become one of his most effective pitches. He also throws a curve and a slider.
It wasn’t until he pitched a complete-game 5-1 win over Villanova midway through his freshman year that he began to develop the confidence that would land him in UC’s record book.
“That was the turning point where I figured I belonged here,” Osterbrock said, “that I could get these guys out.”
Cleary said he could tell that something clicked for Osterbrock that point.
Osterbrock went 9-2 this season with a 3.55 ERA and was a third-team All-Big East selection for a UC team that set a school record with 39 victories. He was 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA as a sophomore.
The last UC player to be drafted among the first 10 rounds was Kevin Youkilis, who was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2001 draft.