Diamond In The Rough : Dan Tobik

Dan Tobik has become the newest member of the InsideTheHalos.com, Diamond In The Rough Club, and it's been a well deserved entrance.

What kid doesn't want to be just like his father? I sure did! Now, my dad may not be a sports writer, but it doesn't mean I didn't want to play hockey or football or baseball just like he taught me to.

For Los Angeles Angels farm hand, Dan Tobik, it's a pretty similar story.

Dan's father, David, pitched eight years in the Major Leagues. Dan is looking to follow suit, despite a résumé that may not scream "pick me, pick me," but that shouldn't matter one bit.

Tobik comes from the University of Tennessee-Martin, where just five players before him have played professional baseball, having Double-A become the furthest any reached.

Tobik was also a 39th round pick. The last player from the 39th round of the draft to reach the Majors was Anthony Slama with the Minnesota Twins who taken in the 39th round of the 2006 Draft.

After all those fun facts, here's a little food for thought in a random scenario. A young man graduates from the smallest class in the smallest school, getting his doctorate degree. Does he still have his doctrine despite going to a small school? Is he still eligible to be hired by a hospital? Of course!

Dan Tobik is still a professional baseball player, regardless of the school he went to, or the round he was drafted in, and has the same chance of making the Major Leagues as every other professional pitcher.

Tobik has shown that these aspects of his career don't effect him moving forward, no matter what the role is.

"I just like pitching," says Tobik. "If it's starting or relieving or closing, I like being out on the mound with the ball in my hand and getting guys out."

Tobik's scouting report consist of a five-pitch repertoire. The most effective being his pair of high 80's fastballs. A sinking two-seam fastball inducing a large amount of ground balls, and a cutter that jams many batters. Both these pitches keep Tobik confident every time he steps on the mound, particularly his sinking two-seam.

"I can trust it and mostly trust it down on the zone," says Tobik. "Letting it move on it's own and just really knowing I have a good defense behind me keeps me confident."

Tobik has embraced every situation he's been put in this season with the Angels High-A affiliate, Inland Empire 66ers, mixing time between the rotation and bullpen, helping the 66ers compete and work their way back into playoff contention for the 2014 season.

"I'm just happy to come out, throw strikes, and keep my team in games."

Another strong asset to Tobik's game is his communication and trust in his catchers. For the Sixers, Zach Wright has been the man behind the plate in most situations and Tobik has no problem having him back there for him.

"You have to have a good relationship with the catcher and he helps gets me some pitches. Also, on the strikeouts, throwing down in the dirt, having confidence in him knowing he's going to block them and he's had a ton of blocks down in there. That helps your mindset as a pitcher."

It's nearly the same message on the receiving end of the game when it comes to Tobik tossing his sinker to Wright.

"It's big because they're either going to hit into a double play or at least give me a chance to throw somebody out," says Wright. "He does a good job with using the umpire and he just pounds the fastball in and that's big time."

Tobik had himself quite a career in college, attaining the all-time saves record for UT-Martin Skyhawks.

Tobik's career beyond college hasn't been something to bat an eye at either. In his first pro year, he posted a 2.89 earned run average and 1.136 WHIP, while holding batters to a .210 average, picking up four wins and just one loss. Not too shabby, eh?

In his second season of pro ball, and his first full season, Tobik has had some struggles in the hitter friendly California League, but has found a strength pitching out of the bullpen, with his 1.98 earned run average and .191 against average, pitching in relief for the High-A Sixers.

Possibly Tobik's strongest performance of the 2014 season came in a start in mid July, where he went seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits and a walk.

The best part? He got to do it in front of his friends, family, and girlfriend, Paige. Promptly after, Tobik spoke about how it feels to pitch well in front of his loved ones.

"It's great! It's exciting because they don't get to watch many games since they're from back East but it's great. I'm thankful for all the love and support I get of chasing my dream from my girlfriend, family, and friends."

Tobik strives on making his family proud, and adds that as part of his own game and success.

"It adds more motivation, you want to make them proud, but I know I got very blessed with great family and friends. I know no matter what they'll still be proud of me. It really makes it special when you pitch well in front of the people you love the most in life."

Tobik has not only impressed his friends and family, but also has caught the attention of his manager, Denny Hocking.

"He throws strikes, a lot of them," says Hocking. "He limits damage, and you can't really ask for much more than that."

Tobik's journey to the top has just begun, but has strong support from many, gaining his own social media hash-tag, "#TeamTobik," started by teammates and friends.

If you're a member of social media; Twitter, Instagram, etc... feel free to show your support and cheer on #TeamTobik.



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