Brendan Feldmann never stopped believing, has overcome obstacles and is looking forward to his future as a professional baseball player.
The parishioner at St. Gertrude in Krakow calls faith “one of the biggest things that helps carry me along. It’s rough. There’s a lot of sacrifices to go out on your own and get sent around. Most of the time you’re on your own. It was tough for a while, I’d meet cool guys on the team and have to leave them and make new friends again. Having my faith with me is a no-brainer, it definitely helped me out.”
He met players who share the same faith. He also takes part in Baseball Chapel, going over Bible verses every week. “It’s not necessarily Catholic, but it’s along the lines,” he said. “That stuff and being able to pray helps.”
Feldmann, who played baseball at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, went on to Lindenwood University where he held opponents to a .229 batting average and posted a 3.01 earned run average (ERA) in two years after attending a junior college. Last year, as a senior, he was sixth in the nation and first in the conference with 118 strikeouts. He also was 27th in the country and second in the MIAA conference with a WHIP of 1.02 while going 10-3.
Yet for all his accomplishments, Feldmann wasn’t drafted by a major league team.
He was disappointed when his name wasn’t called but people in the baseball community told him that they believed he’d be signed as a free agent. A week went by, but he heard nothing.
So he left with his family on a vacation to Florida — he hadn’t been able to go with them for years because of baseball. In Florida, he received a call from a Houston Astros scout and was offered a free-agent contract. He came back home for a day, packed up and headed back to Florida to play in the rookie league.
He pitched in 12 games in his initial season with a 2-1 record and a 0.54 ERA and two saves, striking out 21 in 16⅔ innings.
This season he bounced around among several levels of the Astros’ minor leagues. It was a pretty jumbled mix, but in his last 10 games of this season, the 24-year-old righthander had a 1.80 ERA and two saves, striking out 20 in 15 innings. With five teams in the minor leagues through two seasons, he has a 4-3 record with a 2.29 ERA and 10 saves, eight of them coming this year.
Feldmann has a positive outlook on his season and will work hard in the offseason to prepare for spring training. He’s adjusted to being a reliever, experiencing the adrenaline rush coming into games with runners on base — it’s a tough job — though he’s also comfortable if the Astros want to use him as a starter.
The Washington community and his former high school support him, he noted. “It’s a good school, with people who are like family to me. To have that support growing up and not worry because there’s good people around you has a lot to do” with their values, he said.
He worked out at Borgia for a while with a high school catcher mornings before school. He’s glad to be home with family. “I think my mom missed me a little,” he said with a laugh.
He’s a good guy and deserves success. Feldmann enjoys baseball so much that when he’s not playing he misses it. “If you’re not enjoying it, you’re in the wrong spot,” he said.
Kenny is a staff writer for the Review and a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Oakville.