Just about every baseball player who plays at a high level has dreams of one day drawing a paycheck to play the game.
For SLO Blues pitcher Justin Goossen-Brown, those dreams are something of a family affair. The Los Angeles Valley College product and current San Diego State University commit is hoping to join both his older brother, Josh Goossen-Brown, and uncle, Greg Goossen, in the professional baseball ranks.
Josh, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2014 out of the University of San Diego and is currently rehabilitating following Tommy John surgery. Their uncle also played six years in the Majors, including stints with the New York Mets, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Senators.
“Good genes I guess,” Goossen-Brown joked. “It’s good to have people who have experience and to see people who actually made it and still continuing to make it — and help me along the way in the process.”
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Goossen-Brown averaged 6.47 strikeouts per game and pitched 48.2 innings in his second season for LA Valley College before committing to San Diego State. He was also named to the All-Western State Conference second team.
L.A. Valley plays in the WSC-South Division, while Cuesta College competes in the WSC-North Division. The teams face many of the same opponents over the course of the season.
Goossen-Brown, who spent some time at designated hitter and first base in his first season with L.A. Valley, has committed to pitching full time and will likely vie for a role in the bullpen in the spring for San Diego.
“I chose State because they were the ones that showed the most interest in me,” Goossen-Brown said. “It’s just great program and a great school.”
Goossen-Brown didn’t know San Luis Obispo and the California Collegiate League would be his landing spot for summer baseball until receiving interest from Blues head coach Jamie Clark. It worked out, Goossen-Brown said, because his other uncle, Tom Goossen, lives five minutes from the ballpark. Tom Goossen, who is also providing Goossen-Brown’s host-family accommodations for the summer, is the head football coach at Arroyo Grande High School and recently piloted the Eagles to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
“It’s great to be able to play in front of them and all the people that come out to these games,” he said. “We get a great crowd out here. It’s fun to play in front of people, especially family.”
It’s quite the baseball family. And Goossen-Brown said his brother, currently recovering at the White Sox’s Glendale, Arizona spring training facilities, has been most instrumental in his growth.
“Mostly everything I know about pitching is from watching him and him helping me,” Goossen-Brown said. “I talk to him, call him, Facetime him after most games and basically every time I pitch.”
Goossen-Brown has pitched eight innings for the Blues this year as of Friday, with 12 strikeouts, two earned runs allowed and a 1-0 record out of the bullpen — including an outing in which he allowed just one hit over 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight. He said he hit “86 to 89” on the radar gun in his last game and mixes pitches between a four-seam and two-seam fastball, changeup and slider.
The Blues are 10-7 (before Saturday night’s game against the Humboldt Crabs) and sit four games back from the league-leading Academy Barons (14-3). The Blues conclude their home series against the Crabs at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Sinshiemer Stadium.
June 19 Blues 0, Ventura Halos 6; Blues 2, Ventura 9
June 21 Santa Barbara Foresters 9, Blues 0
June 23 Santa Barbara 2, Blues 4
June 24 Humbolt Crabs 1, Blues 3
Sunday vs. Humbolt, Sinsheimer Stadium, 1 p.m.
Tuesday vs. Union Pacific Capitalists, Sinsheimer Stadium, 6 p.m.
Wednesday vs. Union Pacific, Sinsheimer Stadium, 6 p.m.
Thursday vs. Union Pacific, Sinsheimer Stadium, 6 p.m.
Friday vs. Menlo Park Legends, Sinsheimer Stadium, 6 p.m.
Saturday vs. Menlo Park, Sinsheimer Stadium, 6 p.m.