June 12, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After a brief layoff following the completion of their 2013 season at Tulane, six Green Wave baseball players have headed off to summer leagues across North America, giving them the opportunity to continue to hone their skills before the upcoming season.
The leagues feature wooden bats as opposed to the traditional aluminum bats swung at the NCAA level, allowing scouts and Major League Baseball teams view how a college prospect can hit with the same bats used at the professional level. In addition to this, it gives student-athletes the opportunity to continue to enhance their skills against quality opponents.
Yandel, who became the first Tulane freshman to start opening day in the infield since 2010, will star for the Bethesda Big Train of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The Georgia native recorded 35 starts on the season, batting .227 with eight doubles and 12 RBI. He got hot towards the end of the season, batting .333 over the last ten games of the year. Yandel will be featured as an outfielder for the Big Train, a team that won the Cal Ripken League Championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The squad was recently ranked as the number one wooden bat team out of over 350 by Perfect Game USA.
Joining Yandel in the Cal Ripken League are Burns and Gibbs, who will both play for the Southern Maryland Nationals. Burns became the first true freshman to start opening day for the Greenies behind the dish since 2006, and he was a mainstay there throughout the season, starting a total of 39 games on the year. He only batted .168, but he provided a sure glove behind the plate, calling games for a trio of pitchers who were recently selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He also threw out 16 base runners on the season, tying for fourth in Conference USA. Gibbs made ten appearances on the mound on the season, including starts against Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans. He fanned 12 batters in 17.1 innings of action while posting an ERA of 5.71. The team is skippered by former MLB pitcher Doug Creek.
Braud, who played in two games as a defensive replacement for the Greenies in his rookie campaign, will stay down south, as he will play in the newly developed Deep South Collegiate League as a member of the Hub City River Cats. The River Cats - based out of Hattiesburg, Miss. - are one of three teams that will play games through the end of July. Braud mostly played third base in high school, but was used as a catcher in his two appearances during his freshman year at Tulane.
Goodman will be playing for the F.O.S. Eagles of the South Florida Collegiate League. Goodman recorded six at-bats - all as a pinch hitter - for the Greenies this past season after transferring from Florida State College. The Eagles are based out of Loxahatchee, Fla., and they will play a 40-game schedule during the course of the summer.
Tulane is hoping that their players allotted to the summer leagues find the success that Andrew Garner had during his stint with the Danbury Westerners in 2012. Garner - a rising senior - appeared in 44 games for the Westerners during the summer of 2012, totaling 37 hits, 22 runs scored, 11 home runs and 30 RBI during the regular season. In seven postseason games, Garner led all players with four home runs and 12 RBI. His 15 total home runs led the league, and his 42 total RBI ranked fifth. For his efforts, he was named to the All-New England Collegiate Baseball League Second Team.
Most games in these summer leagues are played at either minor league baseball stadiums or local high school parks. Players stay with host families located near their respective summer league teams during their seasons.
Stay tuned to TulaneGreenWave.com for updates on the six Greenies who are spending a part of their summer playing baseball in the wooden bat leagues.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.