The Atlantic League has been a place for professional baseball players looking for opportunities.
But when the Somerset Patriots started the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series to bring baseball back to New Jersey after the pandemic shutdown all of minor league affiliated baseball and most of independent pro ball, pitcher Brandon Leibrandt decided to play in the series.
There no was no telling what the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series would bring players like Leibrandt, 27, who suited up for the New Jersey Blasters.
“While our main focus of bringing professional baseball back to New Jersey was to honor our commitments to the community, it also serves as an opportunity for some truly talented players to showcase their abilities at a high level,” Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry said on SomersetPatriots.com.
As you would have it, the Miami Marlins purchased Leibrandt’s contract from the Patriots on Thursday, August 6th, and assigned him to their alternate training site.
Getting inked by the Marlins was great news for Leibrandt, who missed last season due to injury.
“It’s been two years since I pitched in a real game. With no baseball going on, I figured it was a good chance to at least get some innings in,” Leibrandt explained on SomersetPatriots.com. “I’m thankful that the Patriots put the series on. It felt great to be in front of fans and face live hitters again.”
Now, the club has selected Leibrandt’s contract from its alternate training site and the lefty will get a chance to make his MLB debut in the coming days.
Leibrant–the son of former MLB pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, who pitched from 1979-93 and was part of the Royals’ 1985 World Series Championship team–made three starts in which he went 1-0 with a league-leading 0.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched. In his final start for the Blasters on Saturday, August 1st, Leibrandt tossed five shutout innings and allowed just two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts for the win over the Patriots.
Additionally, the 6-foot-4, 190 pounder sports a 29-15 minor league affiliated record with a 2.88 ERA in 400 frames in 86 contests.
Moreover, when the former sixth-round draft pick of the Phillies in 2014 climbs a major league mound for the first time, it will be all worth the effort, with his dad helping him every inch of the way.
“It would be a dream come true,” Leibrandt said. “My dad had a great career and our stories have many similarities. He didn’t get called up until his late twenties and has been a constant inspiration for me along the way. He was always there to throw and coach me. He’s been nothing but helpful throughout my career.”
— Jerry Del Priore
(Photos: Miami Marlins; Somerset Patriots)