DALLAS (NCBWA) Nine of college baseball·s finest student-athletes have been named 2008 National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America District Players of the Year, as the NCBWA announced its ninth annual awards today.
The 2008 NCBWA District Players of the Year include utility man Jason Buursma (Bucknell), pitcher George Brown (St. Johns), catcher Buster Posey (Florida State), shortstop Gordon Beckham (Georgia), utility-man Zach Putnam (Michigan), pitcher Aaron Crow (Missouri), pitcher Shooter Hunt (Tulane), first baseman Xavier Scruggs (UNLV) and pitchers Brian Matusz (San Diego) and Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State).
Posey, Beckham and Crow are three of the four finalists for the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy, which will be presented in a national news conference on Saturday, June 14 at 10 a.m. (CDT) at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce (1301 Harney St.), as the recipient of the award, given annually since 1987.
Buursma is the 2008 NCBWA District I Player of the Year after leading the Bucknell Bison to the NCAA Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional and a first-round upset of national No. 3 seed Florida State. The 2008 Patriot League Player of the Year and Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player, Burrsma hit .367 (58 for 158) in 41 games with 13 home runs and 37 RBI this season. He also compiled a .671 slugging percentage with 106 total bases. On the mound, he was 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 20 appearances, including eight starts this season. He also registered six complete games and one shutout and held opponents to a .226 batting average. Burrsma is also a five-time First-Team All Patriot League selection.
Off the field, the Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Player of the Year candidate, was named the 2008 Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year. He is also one of 10 finalists for the 2008 Lowes Senior CLASS Award. Buursma also earned the Christy Mathewson Award, presented to the top senior scholar-athlete at Bucknell. He is also a two-time ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District II selection.
Brown was named the 2008 NCBWA District II Player of the Year after being named to the Louisville Slugger second team All-American squad as selected by the Collegiate Baseball newspaper. The 2008 Big East Pitcher of the Year, Brown was also a First-Team All-Big East selection. The lefty finished the season with a 9-1 record and was a perfect 9-0 in the regular season. Brown compiled a 2.91 ERA in a career-high tying 14 starts and added a career-high 59 strikeouts. The lefty also tossed a career-best 89.2 innings and held opponents to a .251 batting average. Brown also walked just 12 batters all year.
He finished his career at St. John's with a 22-3 career record. The lefty ranks tenth in the all-time record books with 22 career wins and also ranks tied for fifth with nine victories in a single season. He was also a two-time Big East Pitcher of the Week and was named to the weekly honor roll once. An accounting major with a 3.47 GPA, Brown also earned ESPN the Magazine second team Academic All-America honors and first team Academic All-District honors.
Posey was named the 2008 NCBWA District III Player of the Year after leading Florida State to a No. 3 national seed in the NCAA Division Baseball Regionals this season. He is one of four finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, presented to the best college baseball player by the NCBWA and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. For the second straight year, Posey is one of three finalists for the Coleman-Company-Johnny Bench Award, presented by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
Posey was recently named Most Outstanding Player of the Tallahassee Regional after hitting .474 (9-for-19) with five home runs and 13 RBIs in leading Florida State to its eighth Super Regional appearance in school history. Heading into last weekend's regional play, Posey led the nation in three offensive statistical categories including batting average (.468), on-base percentage (.572) and slugging percentage (.897). He also ranked in the top 10 in total bases (3rd), hits (3rd), runs (6th) and runs per game (8th).
In the ACC, the junior catcher leads in eight categories while ranking in the top 10 in three others. He finished the regular season batting .479 in 30 league games as he led the Seminoles to their second straight Atlantic Division title and the number two overall seed in the ACC Baseball Championship. Posey is also seeking to become just the fourth student-athlete in ACC history to win baseball's version of the triple crown as he currently leads in average (.468), home runs (24) and RBI (86).
The Leesburg, Ga., native has also had a stellar season on the defensive end posting a .982 fielding percentage with 58 starts behind the plate. He is throwing out 41.8 percent of would be base stealers on the year while registering six pick offs. The right hander has also made eight appearances on the mound and is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities. Posey has struck out 10 batters and has not allowed a run in 7.1 innings of work.
Beckham is the 2008 NCBWA District IV Player of the Year after leading the Georgia Bulldogs to the Southeastern Conference championship and the No. 8 national seed in the NCAA Regionals. He is one of four finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, presented to the best college baseball player by the NCBWA and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. He is also a finalist for the 2008 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (GSA), the premier award for the top amateur player.
The 2008 SEC Player of the Year and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Beckham ranks among the national leaders in several offensive categories. He is batting .397 with 24 home runs, 85 runs scored, 189 total bases, 65 RBI while fielding .961 in 279 total chances. He led the Bulldogs to the 2008 Athens Regional championship with a pair of wins over arch-rival Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs host North Carolina in the Super Regionals this weekend in Athens. Georgia seeks it third trip to Omaha in the last eight years this season.
Putnam is the District V winner for the second straight year after leading the Michigan Wolverines to the 2008 Big Ten Championship and their first ever NCAA Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich. Putnam is also a two-time All-America selection, as he earned second team honors in each of the last two seasons.
This season, the junior has dominated on the mound, entering the NCAA Regional with an 8-0 record and 2.64 earned run average in 71.2 innings. He had a stretch of three straight starts in which he fanned double-digit opponents, including back-to-back games with a career-best 12 strikeouts. In those three starts he allowed just one earned run, fanning 34 in the process. He finished 7-0 in Big Ten play, winning all but one of his starts. His only no-decision came in the Big Ten opener against Iowa (March 29), which U-M eventually won on Putnam's walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Crow is the 2008 NCBWA District VII Player of the Year after an outstanding season with the Missouri Tigers. The 2008 Big-12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, Crow is a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, Roger Clemson Award and Golden Spikes Award this season.
He set Missouri's single-season record for wins (13) and posted a string of 43 scoreless innings pitched, which is unofficially tied for the fourth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. His 13 wins also led the NCAA and he finished sixth in strikeouts (127) as well. His strikeouts are tied for the second most in Mizzou school history and his 277 career strikeouts are the third most ever by a Tiger pitcher. The junior righty is the first-ever Golden Spikes Award finalist from Missouri.
Hunt earned District VII Player of the Year honors after a stellar year on the mound for Coach Rick Jones Tulane Green Wave. The 2008 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, the junior right-hander was named second-team Louisville Slugger All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, the All-America honor is the first of Hunt's career and he becomes Tulane's first All-American since 2006 when first baseman Mark Hamilton claimed the honor. Hunt is also the first Green Wave hurler to earn the distinction since Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings did so in 2005.
Hunt earned the honor after leading Tulane and Conference USA in opponent batting average (.156), total strikeouts (119), and strikeouts looking (46). He also leads the team and is tied for the C-USA mark with nine wins and paces the club while ranking second in the conference with a 2.45 ERA and 91.2 innings pitched. With 119 strikeouts, Hunt becomes the fourth Tulane hurler in as many years to eclipse the 100-K mark in a season. In addition, Hunt ranks third in the NCAA in strikeouts and hits allowed per nine innings (4.81), ninth in strikeouts per nine innings (11.68), 24th in victories and 31st in ERA.
Since joining the Green Wave prior to the 2007 season, Hunt is a combined 14-9 with a sparkling 2.54 ERA and a .197 opponent batting average. Hunt has started 28 of the 29 games he has appeared in during his Tulane career, during which time he has posted a 10.50 strikeout-per-nine-inning average and a 2.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio after fanning 223 batters and walking just 81 in 191.1 innings.
Scruggs won NCBWA District VIII Player of the Year honors after he put together one of the most dominating offensive seasons in recent Rebel history, winning the MWC Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average (.379), home runs (20) and RBI (65). Scruggs is also just the second player in MWC history to earn the Triple Crown, joining Nielsen, who accomplished the feat in 2004.
He was named the MWC Player of the Week three times this season, becoming the first position player in UNLV history to win the award three times in a single season. The slugger drilled three home runs in a game twice, and he became the first player to hit at least 20 home runs in a season since Kevin Lofthus hit a school-record 26 in 1989.
Matusz and Strasburg were the 2008 District IX Co-Players of the Year.
Matusz is one of five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball to the nations top player. He is coming off a season in which he led the NCAA in strikeouts (141) and tied for fifth in the country in wins (12). The junior lefty was named 2008 West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year and finished the season as the all-time career leader at San Diego in strikeouts (396).
He is a two-time First-Team All-American after winning West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in 2008. The Cave Creek, Ariz. native was nothing short of dominant during the season as he posted a minuscule 1.88 ERA and bolsters a 12-2 overall record. He was also a member of the 2007 USA Baseball National Team and is the first ever player from San Diego selected as a Golden Spikes Award finalist.
San Diego State sophomore pitcher Stephen Strasburg capped a phenomenal season by earning Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine. He is the first SDSU player to receive All-America honors since Royce Ring was a third-team selection in 2002 and is SDSU's first first-team honoree since Travis Lee in 1996. He has also been invited to the USA Baseball National Trials this summer.
Strasburg, a right-hander from San Diego (West Hills HS) was a Freshman All-American in 2007 and completed the 2008 season with a record of 8-3, a 1.57 earned run average and a .181 opponent batting average. His 133 strikeouts (in 97.1 innings) lead the nation this week and he also ranks fourth in the country in earned run average and strikeouts per nine innings (12.30). In league play, he compiled a mark of 6-0 with 92 strikeouts (57.0 innings) while opponents hit just .136 against him.
He set Mountain West Conference records for strikeouts, ERA and opponent batting average both overall and in league contests. He was named the MWC Pitcher of the Week a record seven times including a stretch of five consecutive weeks when he picked up the award. His 133 strikeouts also broke the SDSU record of 122 set by Rob Brown during the 1989 campaign. He earned national attention on April 11 when he struck out 23 batters in the Aztecs' contest against Utah in San Diego. It was the third-most strikeouts ever in a college game and the most since 1981. That contest came during a run of six straight games in which he reached double figures in strikeouts.
The group, divided into areas as follows: District I (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania); District II (Connecticut, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, District of Columbia); District III: (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida); District IV (Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland); District V (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin); District VI (Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota); District VII (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana); District VIII (Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Montana); District IX (California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai'i, Arizona, Alaska).
California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai'i, Arizona, Alaska
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