June 7, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - It took sitting through two days and ten rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, but Tulane senior shortstop Brennan Middleton finally heard his name, as the Washington Nationals selected him with the final pick of the tenth round (316th overall).
Middleton will join fellow Tulane Green Wave baseball player David Napoli into the professional ranks, as he too was selected by the Washington Nationals earlier in the day (eighth round, 256th overall).
A four-year starter for the Greenies, Middleton was an anchor in the infield during 216 contests, including 205 starts. He holds a .297 career batting average to go along with 214 career hits, 31 doubles, 80 RBI and 28 stolen bases.
"I've been coaching for a long time, and Brennan is one of the most special kids I've ever been associated with," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "He comes from a great family. He is a coach on the field. I'm very happy for him."
Middleton's best year came in 2012, when he hit an outstanding .357 for the Greenies, earning All-Conference USA First Team honors. He was second in the league in batting average and sacrifice bunts, while scoring 45 runs - good for ninth in the league standings.
During his senior campaign, Middleton led the Green Wave in hitting, batting at a clip of .295, while also leading the squad with 65 hits. His 19 multi-hit contests - including two games in which he notched four hits - led the team in 2013, as well. He recorded his 200th career hit against Marshall on April 27, becoming just the 29th player in school history to accomplish the feat.
Middleton is also one of the most selfless players at the dish to ever wear a Green Wave uniform. He ranks first in Tulane history with 27 sacrifice hits during his four-year career.
Middleton only missed two games during his senior season, but made 56 starts at shortstop. He notched a 14-game hitting streak that began on Feb. 16 against Texas State that stretched all the way to March 9. During that time frame, he posted a 4-for-5 performance at the plate against Alabama on March 1. He matched his offensive output against Rice on March 29, going 4-for-5 against the Owls.
Middleton marks a milestone of sorts, as he becomes the 50th Tulane player to be drafted under Jones tutelage. The Baton Rouge, La., native became the 89th player in Tulane history to be selected in the First-Year Player Draft.
With the selection of both Middleton and Napoli, the two become the first Green Wave teammates to be drafted by the same team in the same draft since Rob Segedin and Preston Claiborne were both chosen by the New York Yankees in 2010. The same happened for Green Wave teammates on eight different occasions: 2006 (Mark Hamilton and Nathan Southard, St. Louis Cardinals), 2005 (Brian Bogusevic and Tommy Manzella, Houston Astros), 2004 (Brian Bormaster and Cory Hahn, Toronto Blue Jays), 2002 (Nick Bourgeois and Beau Richardson, Philadelphia Phillies), 1998 (Mike Pursell and Craig Brown, Cleveland Indians), 1997 (Jason Navarro and Scott Wilson, Cardinals), 1992 (Larry Schneider and David Welch, Indians), 1989 (Steve Rowley and Gerald Alexander, Texas Rangers), and 1979 (David Stokes and Ken Francingues, Minnesota Twins).
Other Greenies drafted during the 10th round in the history of the MLB First-Year Player Draft are Josh Zeid (Houston Astros, 2009), Steve Rowley (Texas Rangers, 1989), Tookie Spann (Seattle Mariners, 1987) and Wayne Francinques (Chicago White Sox, 1969). Spann did not sign with the Mariners in 1987, instead choosing to return to Tulane in 1988.
"The Washington Nationals are a great, up-and-coming organization," added Jones. "I've known their scouting director, Roy Clark, for over 30 years. They aren't drafting kids unless they think they can play at the highest level. I know that this is an organization that does their homework, and I know that both of these guys can play at the next level."
The final day of the draft will be Saturday, where rounds 11-40 will be conducted. Stay tuned to TulaneGreenWave.com for more MLB Draft coverage.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.