Growing up in California, Gio Brusa has fond memories of his grandfather telling him stories about the New York Yankees. These moments are what originally sparked his interest in baseball.
“I can remember my grandfather telling me stories about the Yankees,” Brusa said regarding how his interest in baseball began. “Ever since then I was hooked.”
The switch-hitter was a tremendous high school player, recording a .348 average and .452 on base percentage in three varsity seasons.
His excellent high school career earned him attention from college and professional scouts.
Brusa had the opportunity to be selected in the fifth round by the Boston Red Sox in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. However, he decided to turn down the offer and purse his college education at Pacific.
“My family prayed for an obvious decision on whether or not to go pro,” Brusa said. “The road out of college is tough enough, and it wasn’t the right timing for me to achieve my goal of playing professionally.”
Reflecting back at that time of his life, Brusa stated that he doesn’t regret his decision to refuse the offer to be selected in the fifth round for the chance to attend college.
“It was an opportunity to mature more as a player and person,” Brusa said on his decision to attend Pacific. “It was a great opportunity to play in front of the home crowd.”
However, the beginning to Brusa’s college career didn’t meet his expectations. In his freshman campaign, he hit just .256 with a .326 on base percentage while tallying four homeruns and 23 runs batted in. He also record 35 strikeouts compared to just 15 walks.
“It was hard facing adversity like that,” Brusa said. “I believe the Lord has a plan, and I stuck to it and remained positive.”
Unfortunately, Brusa’s struggles continued during his sophomore season, as he posted nearly identical numbers to his freshman year.
But, he was able to turn things around last summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League when he hit .322 with six homeruns.
“I focused on the mental side and had a fun time in the Cape Cod League,” Brusa said. “I was blessed to have that opportunity. It felt good to play well.”
His success has continued throughout Pacific’s first 28 games this season. He is hitting a respectable .298 with four homeruns, 11 RBIs and a much-improved .402 on base percentage.
If he is able to continue this production, there is a good chance he could be selected in the first round of June’s MLB Draft. Currently he is ranked as MLB.com’s 34th best available draft prospect, but he has the potential to rise up draft boards as the draft nears.
Brusa, who is a switch-hitter, is better from the left side of the plate and possesses outstanding power. Some scouts would like to see him improve his plate discipline, however he is still one of the better college hitters in this draft class.
“I want to improve my balls and strikes recognition,” Brusa said. “ My plan is to be patient at the plate.”
He is also a tremendous individual that any professional organization would love to have.
“Individually I want to help the team win,” Brusa said. “My goal is to be the best I can be, and I am never going to give up.”
Despite all the talk surrounding his draft stock, he isn’t worried about it. Instead he says that God has a plan and that he has to just trust in him.
However, once he is drafted and signs his professional contract, he will finally be accomplishing a goal he has had since he was just six years old.
“I don’t feel like there is any pressure because it is the same game I’ve played as a kid,” Brusa said. “It is out of my hands. God has a plan and I just need to trust in him. Whatever it is, it will be a good one.”