Bryan Augenstein is born with the love for baseball: already at 4 years of age he was playing tee-ball in his home town Sebastian, a town in Florida on the east coast, opposite of Tampa.
‘I’ve had a passion for baseball ever since I was a little kid,’ - Bryan Augenstein quoted in an article on TCPalm.com, February 2016
Love and talent came together as young Bryan became the most dominant pitcher in Sebastian River High School's history, setting a high school record of striking out 127 batters in 2004, earning him local honours of pitcher of the year. Augenstein, as later would be recalled, hopes to get drafted out of high school, but mononucleosis gets him hard at the end of the season and the hopes of getting drafted ebbs away as interest from MLB teams slowly fades out.
“I missed the last month of school my senior year, and after everyone found out I was sick, they kind of fell off,” Augenstein said. “I waited the whole draft to hear my name and they never called it.” - Augenstein quoted on TCPalm in 2007
Obviously, excelling in Florida garners the attention of one of the bigger college programs in the USA and Augenstein commits to Florida State to become a Gator. In his freshman year, 2005, he doesn't pitch much. He spends some time in the bullpen but also makes a few starts, without much success.
His second season is much better. He makes 15 starts, completes 3 games, and just misses a no-hit bid, and pitches to a 3.07 ERA. He is one of the league leaders in innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA. He makes the USA college team as well.
Durability is also his mark in 2007, where he once again pitches multiple complete games and makes 16 starts in total, completing 116 innings. But Augenstein is more hittable as a junior than as a sophomore, which drops his draft stock a bit.
“his stuff lacks life and his secondary stuff is fringe-average. If he can rediscover the life on his high-80s fastball and improve his breaking ball, he could have value as a middle reliever.” - Baseball America on the 2007 draft pick of Augenstein by the Diamondbacks, as quoted by Wesley Baier on the AZSnakePit in 2008.
The Diamondbacks select the right-hander in the 7th round and he signs for full slot at $120,000. It was a tough decision, because the player himself thought he had a great finish to his season and, despite the struggles at the beginning of it, had expected to go in the first 5 rounds of the draft.
“It’s been tough just because I was expecting more from the draft” - Bryan Augenstein quoted on gainesville.com in 2007 about signing as professional or returning to Florida
Side-arm pitcher Bryan starts well in his his professional career as a Diamondback. He isn't much of a prospect, but achieves good results in his first taste of pro ball in Missoula in 2007 and then in Visalia and South Bend in 2008.
“Bryan Augenstein is a prospect that Diamondback fans should keep an eye on. Through out his amateur and professional career, he’s put up a lot of innings and gotten a ton of strike outs, all while facing tougher and tougher competition.” - Wesley Baier on Bryan Augenstein on AZSnakePit.com in June 2008
The big leagues.
In 2009 his career makes a flight. He starts the season in Mobile where he dominates the entire league in his first 5 games, winning each one of them, but in his sixth start he completes only 3 innings. Soon we understand why, as Bryan Augenstein will head to the major leagues to make a start for the Diamondbacks.
How desperate where the Diamondbacks to call-up a guy whose experience until then was 1.5 years of pro ball with 5 games in AA as the highest level? Makes you wonder.
The Diamondbacks have just ousted Bob Melvin and have started their reign under AJ Hinch going 1-4. It was a time where the Diamondbacks decided to call up multiple players straight out of AA: Clay Zavada, Gerardo Parra (made his debut the same day as Augenstein) and Bryan himself, to name but a few.
Augenstein debuted on May 13 against the Cincinnati Reds, going 6.1 innings and throwing easily 95 pitches, but his stuff was up and down during the game, eventually ending his line with 8 hits and 5 runs.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s every kid’s dream,” he said of his debut. “It’s been my dream since I was little.” - Bryan Augenstein on his debut as quoted on espn.com in May 2009
The Florida kid gets another shot at success a week later, pitching in his home state against the Marlins, but doesn't fare much better, yielding 6 runs in 5 innings of work, in a game overshadowed by Scott Schoeneweis’ wife sudden death.
Especially Augenstein’s high 80s fastball/sinker doesn't play out against MLB batting and the following day he is optioned to Reno and eventually to Mobile before getting the call back to the majors when rosters expand in September. However, he now pitches exclusively as a reliever and makes 5 more appearances, once again achieving unimpressive results with a total of 5 runs in those games.
Final stat line in 2009: 7 games, 2 starts, 17 innings, a 7.94 ERA and 1.71 WHIP with a 1.00 K-BB.
Augenstein participates in Spring Training 2010, but his 14.40 ERA over 5 innings of work soon puts him out of discussion for a spot in the bullpen in the 2010 season and he starts the season in Reno. Once again, durability is not the problem. He makes 22 starts for Reno, but for a pitcher that lacks real good stuff and has to rely on weak contact, he allows too many hits, leading to a 6.56 ERA. At the end of the season he is removed from the 40-man roster and claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals.
A fresh start in St. Louis in 2011 does him well. Augenstein impresses in Spring Training, pitching to a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings of relief work. He racks up strikeouts and earns himself a spot on the Opening Day roster of the Cardinals. His debut for the Cardinals does not go as planned though, allowing 2 runs in an extra innings game and taking the loss. He makes a couple of fine appearances until he meets the Diamondbacks in Arizona. His former team isn’t kind to him and punishes Augenstein with 5 runs over a total of 2 innings of work in 2 games. On the other hand, he does get his first and final hit at the major league level against the D-Backs.
A day after his final appearance at Chase Field Augenstein is placed on the 10-day IL with a groin strain and that would be the exit out of major league baseball for him.
Because after that hopeful stint that ends sadly in an IL-stint, durable Augenstein is out for two months and doesn’t make it out of AAA despite pitching to a respectful 4.04 ERA in the PCL for the Memphis Redbirds. By the end of the season he is released.
He signs a minor league contract with Tampa in 2012 and does well in Spring Training but is never a serious option for the major league team, bumps from injury to injury while with the AAA Durham Bulls, but still manages to make over 42 innings.
As later is recalled, he battles some kind of a neurological disease (transverse myelitis), making the amount of innings he eventually puts up during his time in the Tampa Bay organisation even more impressive.
The injuries continue to bug him in 2013 when he signs a minor league contract again, now with the Minnesota Twins, but is released by the end of May after spending the entire time until then on the injury list.
His final season, 2014, is with the Detroit Tigers, but again, injuries keep chasing him. He spends most of his time in AA and ends the season there with a 5.44 ERA, not inspiring much hope for the future.
He hangs up the cleats and moves back to his home town Sebastian where he operates a forklift for a year before getting a teaching job in physical education on an Indian River County middle school where, as far as we know, he still works and lives today.