By STEVE KRAH
Mike Brosseau was not drafted at the end of his college baseball career.
But the graduate of Andrean High School in Merrillville, Ind., and Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich., has proven impactful in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Undrafted after four seasons at Oakland (2013-16), Brosseau made it to the Double-A level in his third professional season in 2018.
Playing mostly third base, the righty swinger hit .262 with 13 home runs, three triples, 24 doubles and 61 runs batted in over 104 games for the Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits. Montgomery went 79-61 and made the Southern League playoffs.
Using advice from former Oakland head coach John Musachio, Brosseau did his best to “slow the game down” while doing what he could to contribute.
“(Musachio) talked about playing the specific game you have and getting in the lineup and helping the team out,” says Brosseau, 24. “People let the moment and pressure get to them too much. I want to just be able to stay within my game and not let the outside factors effect it.
“It’s about letting my abilities do the best for me. I’m a guy that’s going compete for you. I’m going to find a way to do what I can to help the team win.”
Brosseau (pronounced BRAW-SO) earned his degree in Health Sciences then made his pro debut in 2016 with the Gulf Coast League Rays (hitting .319 in six games). He played most of the 2017 season with the Low Class-A Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods (batting .318 in 80 contests) and also appeared with the High Class-A Charlotte (Fla.) Stone Crabs (hitting .333 in 19 games).
The next step up the Rays minor league ladder is the Triple-A Durham (N.C.) Bulls.
Showing his versatility, Brosseau has also been used at second base, first base, shortstop and even at catcher and pitcher.
Last winter, Brosseau got to experience life and baseball Down Under.
After hinting at it during the 2017 regular season, the Rays approached him about playing in the Australian Baseball League at the end of fall instructional league.
“I jumped on the opportunity,” says Brosseau. “I got my passport the next day and headed out two weeks later.”
He played in 25 games with the Perth Heat and hit .427 with six homers, two triples and 32 RBIs.
“The thing that grabbed me wasn’t the baseball, it was the people,” says Brosseau. “They were some of the most welcoming, genuine, caring people I’ve ever met.
“They treated us like family.”
Perth also offered a connection to the Region as former Gary SouthShore RailCats play-by-play announcer Dan Vaughan served as an announcer for the Heat.
A shortstop for Musachio at Oakland, where he made 183 starts, Brosseau hit .308 with 19 homers, three triples, 39 doubles and 104 RBIs for his Golden Grizzlies days. He was a first-team all-Horizon League selection in 2014 and 2016.
“I got close to him really fast in my career,” says Brosseau of Musachio. “He’s a genuine, good human being. He cares for his family, team and university.
“It was a blessing to play for him for four years.”
At Andrean, Brosseau was a contributor for 59er teams coached by Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Dave Pishkur.
“Coach Pishkur is one of those guys who connects to his players,” says Brosseau. “He was instrumental in my development process — both in baseball and as a human.”
Brosseau was the starting shortstop in the 2010 IHSAA Class 3A state championship game as Andrean topped Jasper 6-1. Among his teammates on that squad were future pros Sean Manaea (who has pitched in the big leagues for the Oakland Athletics) and Zac Ryan (who pitches in the Los Angeles Angels system).
“We’re all going down a pretty good path,” says Brosseau. “You love to see northwest Indiana guys do well in pro ball and baseball in general.”
Brosseau still keeps in-touch with former 59ers mates Mark Pishkur (Dave’s son), Cody Haver and Nick Tobye.
Born in Munster, Ind., Brosseau grew up in nearby Portage and played at Portage Little League until age 12 before helping out the traveling Duneland Flyers then Dave Sutkowski-coached Hammond (Ind.) Chiefs. The latter organization competed in tournaments all over the country.
“You got to see where you stand,” says Brosseau of playing for the Chiefs. “It was a fun experience.”
He committed to Oakland as an Andrean junior then played in the summer for Valparaiso American Legion Post 94.
Mike is the son of Mike and Bonnie Brosseau. His parents both work in the steel industry.
“I had an amazing childhood,” says the younger Mike Brosseau. “I can’t say enough about how my parents raised me. I had a lot of friends because I played a lot of sports.”
He was a soccer player in his younger days and played basketball until his sophomore year of high school.
Brosseau attended St. Bridget Catholic School in Hobart prior to going to Andrean.
Mike Brosseau, a graduate of Andrean High School in Merrillville, Ind., and Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich., played for the Double-A Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits in the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2018. (Montgomery Biscuits Photo)
Mike Brosseau, who graduated from Andrean High School and Oakland University, is an infielder in the Tampa Bay Rays system. (Donten Photography)