Tavone Jr. Inks Deal with Atlanta Braves
URBANA, Ohio (August 4, 2014) – Urbana University baseball standout Robert Tavone Jr. realized a lifelong dream today, signing a professional contract to play for the Atlanta Braves organization. Tavone Jr. will report immediately to the Gulf Coast Braves, Atlanta’s Rookie League affiliate located in Kissimmee, Florida.
A four-year starter behind the plate for the Blue Knights, Tavone Jr. (Whitby, Ontario) was the 2013 G-MAC Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. He hit .387 that season with 3 home runs, a school-record 19 doubles, and 30 RBIs. His on-base percentage was .451 and he slugged a team-high .606. He finished fifth in NCAA Division II in doubles per game (0.49). Over the final 27 games that season, Tavone Jr. hit .463 with 17 doubles, 20 RBIs, and 25 runs, collecting at least one hit in 26 of the final 27 games. Amazingly, he struck out just twice over the final 23 contests of 2013.
In the summer of 2013, Tavone Jr. toiled behind the plate for the West Virginia Miners, the back-to-back Prospect League Champions. A Preseason All-Atlantic Region selection heading into his senior season, Tavone Jr. was limited out of the gates by an injury. After making 39 starts as the Blue Knights’ backstop in 2013, Tavone Jr. was limited to just 20 starts behind the dish in 2014. He made an additional 19 starts as the designated hitter, and he was forced to miss 6 games altogether. In his limited role, Tavone Jr. still managed to hit .279 with 16 more doubles, 23 RBIs and 20 runs scored. His 40 career doubles are third all-time at Urbana. He’s also top 5 all-time in fielding chances and putouts.
Tavone Jr. will become the third Blue Knight to play professionally for an MLB organization during Head Coach Mike Goldschmidt’s seven-year run at Urbana University. Pitcher Jaeson Hudnall signed with the Kansas City Royals after his junior season in 2008. Outfielder/1B Jordan Baker made his way up through the Florida Marlins' organization before joining the Blue Knights for the 2008-09 seasons. He signed a pro deal with the Florence Freedom after completing his collegiate career.
Tavone Jr. wrapped up his senior season on the field this past spring. He slated to graduate with a degree in Education from Urbana University in December of 2014.
The Gulf Coast Braves play 60 regular season games from June 20th to August 28th. They are currently 17-20 this summer, 5.5 games behind the Gulf Coast Yankees in the Northeast Division. Click here to follow Tavone Jr. and the GCL Braves progress this summer.