Branham alumnus Arman Sabouri’s dream of becoming a professional baseball player became a reality Tuesday as he was drafted to the Milwaukee Brewers in the 12th round.
The decision is the culmination of nearly two decades of work on the mound, including at Branham, where he is one of the school’s most awarded players. At Berkeley, where he is a starting pitcher, Sabouri recorded career bests in ERA, strikeouts (71) and innings pitched (57.2), earning him an honorable mention in the PAC-12.
“I told them I was ready and I had a good year, so a good deal of teams were interested in drafting me,” Sabouri said.
Sabouri is Branham’s all-time leader in innings pitched, wins and earned run averages. As a high school junior, he was named the 2015 Mt. Hamilton MVP, First Team All-American from the Mercury News, MaxPreps Underclass All-American and MaxPreps First Team All-State. In his senior year he was awarded honorable mention for the Rawlings/Perfect Game All-America award and a California region honorable mention.
The left-handed pitcher graduated from Branham in 2016 after playing on the varsity baseball team for four years. In his junior year, the team, led by Activities Director Landon Jacobs, won the Mt. Hamilton League in CCS. Sabouri moved on to pitch in college after committing to UC Berkeley that year.
Junior Shireen Sabouri, his younger sister, found out that he was drafted during her math final and is proud of his accomplishment.
“(Junior) Cameron Rynhard had finished [his final] by then. He yelled in front of the entire class, ‘Shireen! Your brother got drafted to the Brewers!’” she said of Rynhard, who currently plays . “I started laughing and double-checked later.”
Likewise, Coach Jacobs was enthusiastic when he heard the news. He shared the information to the school’s athletics page on Facebook.
“I’m very excited for him to have the opportunity to move forward and play professionally, but also the realization of a dream I know he’s had for a very long time,” he said.
The drafting process started in the fall when the alumnus filled out a questionnaire and kept in contact with several major league teams. In the past few days, he has received several calls from the Brewers who were ensuring that he was ready to accept a contract in his junior year.
In 2018, he went 5-2 with an earned run average of 3.07. He pitched a total of 44 innings last season and struck out 48 hitters, walking 11. This was better than his previous season with the Golden Bears, which had already started to peak interest from recruiters.
In the next few days, Sabouri will sign his contract and meet with a travel representative who will assign him to a farm system where he will train, and assure he is drug-free and physically fit.
His love of baseball started early on in his childhood when, he quit soccer as a 5-year-old for a sport he could run less in.
“I didn’t like to run all over the place when I was little because I got really tired,” Sabouri said. “One of my friends recommended that I play baseball.”
After the suggestion from his friend, Sabouri started little league baseball and quickly became obsessed with the sport. Every day after school he watched the MLB network, he went to Giants games and followed both the A’s and the Giants.
Once Sabouri started high school, he started playing varsity his freshman year as both a hitter and a pitcher. According to Jacobs, he is the only Branham freshman to have started a playoff game.
“He came in as a very talented player and immediately made an impact on the program,” Jacobs said. “While he was with us we had an unprecedented run of success on the field in terms of winning and championships.”
Sabouri attributes a lot of his success to his coaches, especially during his high school career.
“My coaches ran a very, very good baseball program,” he said. “They taught all the players how to play the game the right way, how to win.”
However, the head coach at that time, Jacobs said that the majority of Sabouri’s success is due to his own merit.
“In order to succeed at a high level, you need to be very talented, but also you have to be very driven,” Jacobs said. “To take the route that he did, to go play at a Division I school that is so academically challenging, was what he wanted to do, but also took a lot of work.”
Jacobs said that Sabouri is an ideal role model for current student athletes who want to go professional because he maintained high level grades in addition to his athletic success. For those who do want to go professional, Sabouri advises students to keep their grades up and focus on their goals.
“If you really want to do it, you should be doing everything in your power to make it a reality,” he said. “Ask yourself every day, you’re doing the right thing to get you there.”
In the future, Sabouri hopes to sustain a career in the MLB and stay in healthy enough shape to keep playing and making a name for himself. As always, baseball will continue to play an important role in his life.
“Baseball is 100% his life,” his sister said. “Nothing else matters more to him.”