TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NCBWA) Fifty players have been named to the mid-season watch list for the 10th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, as announced by the association on Wednesday.
The national saves leader, Sam Moore of UC Irvine, highlights this year's mid-season list which consists of players from 21 difference conferences. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with seven players on the list followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big West Conference with four nominees apiece. The Big 12, Ohio Valley, Pac-12, Southern and West Coast Conferences each have three pitchers on the mid-season watch list.
In 18 appearances this season, Moore has registered 16 saves in 30.2 innings of work with 28 strikeouts and a 1.17 ERA. UCLA's David Berg, the 2013 Stopper of the Year Award winner, is also on the list as the junior right hander is 3-1 with nine saves and a 1.63 ERA in 38.2 innings of work. Three pitchers on the mid-season list including Louisville's Nick Burdi, Stanford's A.J. Vanegas and Samford's Andres Gracia have all posted a 0.00 ERA with five weeks remaining in the regular season.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released Wednesday, June 4, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.
The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced during the 2014 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. Knebel won in 2011 with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. Berg of UCLA was crowned the winner in 2013.
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.