DALLAS (NCBWA) – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced its 25th Annual District Players of the Year for all nine districts for the 2023 season. This season’s honorees include:
District 1 (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania)
Jeremiah Jenkins, Maine, So., 1B, Upper Marlboro, Md.
.365 BA, 53GP, 53GS, 197AB, 53R, 72H, 12 2B, 1 3B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 39 BB, 36K, 0-1 SB/SBA
District 2 (Connecticut, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington D.C.)
JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia, So., 2B, Mars, Pa.
449 BA, 55GP, 54GS, 225AB, 67R, 101H, 24 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 26 BB, 22K, 36-44 SB/SB
District 3 (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida)
Jac Caglianone, Florida, Jr., 1B/SP, Tampa, Fla.
.337 BA, 63GP, 63GS, 249AB, 69R, 84H, 13 2B, 2 3B, 31 HR, 84 RBI, 15 BB, 48K, 4-5 SB/SBA
7-3, 3.78 ERA, 16 GP, 16 GS, 0 CG, 0/2 SHO, 69.0IP, 46H, 33R, 29ER, 49BB, 81K, .184 Opp. BA
District 4 (Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland)
Rhett Lowder, Wake Forest, So., SP, Albermarle, N.C.
14-0, 1.77 ERA, 16 GP, 16 GS, 0 CG, 0/6 SHO, 101.2IP, 75H, 25R, 20ER, 20BB, 125K, .207 Opp. BA
District 5 (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin)
Brock Vradenburg, Michigan State, Jr., 1B, Pasadena, Calif.
.400 BA, 55GP, 55GS, 215AB, 62R, 86H, 22 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 36 BB, 34K, 1-1 SB/SBA
District 6 (Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)
Max Anderson, Nebraska, Jr., 2B, Omaha, Neb.
.414 BA, 57GP, 57GS, 244AB, 51R, 101H, 20 2B, 2 3B, 21 HR, 70 RBI, 20 BB, 29K, 0-0 SB/SBA
District 7 (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana)
Dylan Crews, LSU, OF, Jr., Longwood, Fla.
.432 BA, 61GP, 61GS, 220AB, 87R, 95H, 14 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR, 63 RBI, 61 BB, 40K, 6-6 SB/SBA
Paul Skenes, LSU, SP, Jr., Lake Forest, Calif.
11-2, 1.90 ERA, 16 GP, 16 GS, 2 CG, 0/3 SHO, 99.1IP, 61H, 26R, 21ER, 17BB, 179K, .171 Opp. BA
District 8 (Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Montana)
Austin Deming, BYU, Sr., 3B, Santa Clara, Utah
.418 BA, 41GP, 41GS, 165AB, 50R, 69H, 23 2B, 1 3B, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 20 BB, 29K, 1-2 SB/SBA
District 9 (California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Alaska)
Alberto Rios, Stanford, Jr., OF, Bellflower, Calif.
.392 BA, 58GP, 57GS, 222AB, 66R, 87H, 21 2B, 0 3B, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 36BB, 33K, 5-6 SB/SBA
Caglianone, Crews, Lowder, Skenes and Wetherholt also were tabbed by the NCBWA as finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy presented by The Game Headwear. Earlier this week, Caglianone, Crews and Skenes were also named Golden Spikes’ finalists by USA Baseball.
Maine’s sophomore first baseman Jeremiah Jenkins was District 1’s player of the year following another strong season at the plate with career highs in home runs (19), runs batted in (65) and batting average (.327). He was just points away from a rare batting Triple Crown for the America East Conference as conference Player of the Year and a .419 hitter in league games only. He also nabbed third team All-America recognition from Collegiate Baseball magazine.
In District 2, Wetherholt dominated the Big 12 Conference as Player of the Year and led the nation with a .449 batting average. The first team Collegiate Baseball All-America and College Sports Communicators Academic All-America selection was the only player in NCAA Division I to blast 15 home runs and steal 35 bases. He had a Big 12-best 101 hits (tied for third nationally), was a big reason for the school’s most victories (40) since the 1994 Mountaineers closed 40-21 and was among NCAA leaders with 1.84 hits per game (first), a .787 slugging percentage (11th) and stolen bases (36, tied for 10th). He had the top overall individual performance in one season by any WVU player in history.
District 3 winner Caglianone was the 2023 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and is the all-time leader for home runs in a season for the Gators with 31 (tops nationally through June 8 contests). He also is the first SEC slugger to hit 30-plus homers since the 2003 season. The UF sophomore also has been a key starting rotation pitcher for UF with a 7-3 record and 81 strikeouts in 69 innings. He tops the NCAA DI with .5 round-trippers per clash with 31 in 62 games and helped the Gators tie for the SEC regular-season crown at 20-10 with Arkansas.
Lowder earned District 4 laurels as the sophomore righthander leads the nation with a 14-0 record prior to the Super Regionals and was 2023 Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year for the second straight year. He also is second in the country with a 1.77 earned run average. The first team College Sports Communicators Academic All-America and Collegiate Baseball’s first-teamer is the top rotation hurler for the nation’s winningest squad (50-10) and a team with an ERA of 2.78 - .82 better than NCAA ERA runner-up Tennessee at 3.60. He is 25-3 on the mound since the 2022 campaign and has 125 strikeouts in 101-plus innings of work.
District 5 recipient Vradenburg already has been honored as third team All-America by CB and first team Academic All-American by College Sports Communicators. He was a unanimous first team All-Big Ten Conference and a semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. The junior standout also was second in the Big Ten in bating average (.400) and sixth in the conference in total hits (86). He was second in the Big Ten in on-base percentage (.492), hit 13 home runs and drove in 69 runs, which ranks third in the loop.
In District 6, Nebraska’s Anderson was second team All-America by Collegiate Baseball and was under consideration throughout ’23 for Big Ten Conference Player of the Year. The Huskers second baseman paced his team in virtually every offensive category with 21 homers, 70 RBI and .414 batting average. The first team All-Big Ten selection was the first player in Division I to reach 100 hits in ’23 and was the first Husker to reach .400 at the plate since John Cole batted .418 in 2001. Anderson’s 15 home runs in Big Ten games represented the highest total in the modern, traditional Big Ten slate.
It is no surprise that District 7 sports co-players Crews and Skenes. Crews entered the final weekend before the NCAA Baseball College World Series with a .432 average – third in the country – a team-most 95 hits in 61 games. The standout junior helped LSU remain atop national rankings for the first 11 weeks of 2023 and a sweep of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. He withdrew from consideration for the 2021 Major League Baseball draft to continue his education and to help the Tigers ascend back to their place of diamond prominence.
Skenes has become the first player in NCBWA District Players of the Year annals to capture the honor in two different areas over two seasons. The Air Force transfer notched NCBWA District 8 laurels in 2022 as a multi-position player before moving to the Tigers in the ’23 NCAA transfer portal. The fireballing righty was 2023 SEC Pitcher of the Year and Collegiate Baseball’s Player of the Year. His 179 strikeouts are the most in NCAA Division I, and he averages 16.6 whiffs and just 1.5 walks for every nine innings hurled. He possessed an ERA below 1.00 for most of the season and is currently fourth nationally with a 1.90 standard. He tossed a clutch, complete game against Tulane in LSU’s opening NCAA tournament victory with 12 strikeouts, two walks and seven hits allowed in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
In District 8, the successor to Skenes is Deming who was 2023 Co-West Coast Conference Player of the Year. The Cougars standout is under consideration for upcoming All-America squads and is helping BYU make the transition to Big 12 Conference baseball in 2024. Deming won the WCC regular-season triple crown with a league-leading .418 batting average, 19 home runs and 68 RBI during the 2023 season. He led the conference in nine offensive categories during the 2023 regular season. In addition to batting average, home runs and RBI, he also led the league in slugging (.915), total bases (151), hits per game (1.68), RBI per game (1.66), home runs per game (.46) and doubles per game (.56).
Stanford’s Rios, in District 9, has been one of the West Coast’s top impact players in ’23 for the Super Regional-qualifying Pac-12 Conference powerhouse. Rios and the Cardinal have become adept over the last two seasons, winning five elimination games to advance to Omaha a year ago before winning three more last weekend in the regional round. The first team All-America in Collegiate Baseball, Pac-12 Player of the Year and first team All-Pac-12 performer went from 2022 reserve to starting 57 of 59 games for the Cardinal and becoming the ninth conference player of the year in program history – including the first since Jed Lowrie in 2004. So far this season, Rios has recorded 24 multi-hit contests and 17 multi-RBI showings as a junior.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player and the Mike Martin National Coach of the Year to the nation's top coach. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.