CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (NCBWA) Thirty-nine players have been named to the midseason watch list for the 11th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, the association announced Tuesday.
George Washington sophomore Eddie Muhl, the nation's saves leader with 14, highlights the 2015 midseason watch list, while Nevada junior Adam Whitt has 13 and five players have 12 saves with four weeks left in the regular season. Rider senior Eric Thomas and Louisville sophomore Zack Burdi have 0.00 ERAs, while Texas Tech senior Corey Taylor has a 0.36 ERA in 50 innings across 17 appearances, the best ERA in the nation among players with at least one inning pitched per team game.
Muhl has a 0.47 ERA in 19.1 innings over 18 appearances, striking out 17 and walking only four. Whitt holds a 0.99 ERA in 27.1 innings of work across 20 appearances, with 33 strikeouts and only four walks.
Illinois' Tyler Jay averages a watch list-best 2.0 innings pitched per appearance, notching eight saves and holding a 5-1 record with a 0.71 ERA, 43 strikeouts and three walks in 38 innings over 19 appearances. UCLA's David Berg, the 2013 Stopper of the Year, is 4-0 with eight saves and a 0.98 ERA in 36.2 innings over 25 appearances, also striking out 43 and walking three.
The Atlantic Coast and Southern Conferences lead the way with four members of the midseason watch list apiece, while four conferences the Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and West Coast Conferences · each have three nominees.
The NCBWA will announce five finalists for the 2015 Stopper of the Year the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts · on Wednesday, June 3, prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional competition. The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced during the 2015 College World Series.
Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia's Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas' Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. The Longhorns' Corey Knebel won in 2011 with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. UCLA's Berg was crowned the winner in 2013, while Louisville's Nick Burdi took home the 2014 honor.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.