The 2020 college baseball season begins on Friday, February 14. Several Big Train alumni received preseason accolades. Here's the full rundown:
Two Big Train alumni earned Preseason All-American honors this spring. Both Alec Burleson and Tanner Allen put up impressive numbers in their 2019 sophomore campaigns, and return to school looking to lead their teams deep into the NCAA tournament.
Alec Burleson | East Carolina | Utility | First Team (Perfect Game, NCBWA)
As a sophomore last spring, Alec Burleson (BT 2018) slashed .370/.399/.573 with nine homers and an East Carolina-leading 61 RBIs and 23 doubles. The southpaw also split time between the rotation and bullpen, striking out 68 hitters over 60.1 innings with a 3.28 ERA and a team-high five saves. The junior also made it onto the NCAA’s players to watch list, and is a preseason frontrunner for the John Olerud Two-Way Player Award. In Bethesda, Burleson won the 2018 Cal Ripken League Most Outstanding Player Award. He also hit a walkoff homer for the USA Collegiate Team against Japan last summer.
Tanner Allen | Mississippi State | Outfield | Third Team (Perfect Game, NCBWA)
Tanner Allen (BT 2017) earned Preseason Third Team All-American Outfield honors heading into his junior season with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Allen has done nothing but hit since he arrived in Starkville, hitting .287 with 18 doubles as a freshman in 2018 before a true breakout campaign last spring. He posted a .348/.423/.519 slash line, leading the Bulldogs with 64 RBIs and tying for the team lead with 22 doubles. He was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 34th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, but opted to return for what is poised to be a massive junior campaign.
Six Big Train alumni were named to their Preseason All-Conference teams. Their honors are noted below, alphabetically in order of conference.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Alec Burleson | East Carolina | Utility | All-Conference (Perfect Game); Player of the Year (Perfect Game, Baseball America, D1 Baseball)
Not much else to say about Burleson, who is also a consensus preseason pick for AAC Player of the Year. East Carolina is projected to be a powerhouse again, ranked in the top 25 by both D1 Baseball and Baseball America. Burleson figures to be right in the middle of their success on both sides of the ball. As one of the top draft-eligible two-way players in the NCAA, he figures to go in the early rounds of this summer's MLB Draft as well.
COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Fox Semones | James Madison | Utility | All-Conference (Perfect Game)
A long-time Big Train star, Fox Semones (BT 2016-19) combined power, speed and versatility over his first three years at JMU. His best season came as a sophomore in 2018, when he hit .291/.363/.460 with a team-best seven homers and 33 RBIs. Despite a down 2019 in the power department, he still managed to get on base at a .371 clip while stealing 14 bases.
Andru Summerall | Florida Atlantic | First Base | All-Conference (Perfect Game)
Known in Bethesda as Udie, Andru Summerall (BT 2018) put up impressive numbers for the Owls in his sophomore campaign last spring, hitting .295/.386/.474 with a team-high 16 doubles and 55 RBIs. Now a junior, he’ll look to provide even more thump in the middle of the Florida Atlantic lineup.
Gaby Cruz | Bryant | Catcher | All-Conference (Perfect Game)
Gaby Cruz (BT 2017) broke onto the scene last spring as a junior, hitting .354/.449/.592 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in just 48 games. He has seen time at catcher, first base and designated hitter throughout his college career, and figures to be a central part of the Bryant lineup as a senior in 2020.
WEST COAST CONFERENCE
Carlos Lomeli | Saint Mary’s (CA) | Pitcher | All-Conference (Perfect Game)
A Cal Ripken League All-Star two summers ago, Carlos Lomeli (BT 2018) followed that up with a strong 2019 season for the Saint Mary’s Gaels. Stepping into a full-time rotation role, he threw 88.1 innings across 16 appearances (14 starts), striking out 58 and walking just 13. He posted a 3.05 ERA and 1.060 WHIP. Entering this spring, D1 Baseball ranked him as the 67th best starting pitcher in the college ranks.
Tyler Villaroman | San Francisco | Outfield | All-Conference (Perfect Game)
A two-year Big Train player, Tyler Villaroman (BT 2018-19) returns to San Francisco for his senior season looking to be a catalyst atop the Dons lineup. Through three seasons, his 50 stolen bases rank eighth all-time in program history, and 13 more steals this spring will catapult him into second place. Villaroman doesn’t have light tower power, but his contact and on-base skills (.285 AVG, .364 OBP) are top-notch for a table setter.
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