LUBBOCK, Texas — With just over a month left in the regular season, the field is taking shape for the ninth annual John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, as evidenced by the 2019 watch list released Wednesday by the College Baseball Foundation.
While a mix of starting pitchers and relievers lead the 25-player watch list for 2019, all are showing their prowess at the plate in contending for the Olerud Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation. An almost entirely new group of players highlights the list, which features just four players who were on the watch list in 2018.
“There are a few familiar names on the list, but for the most part, it is completely wide open. I’m expecting the battle for the 2019 award to come right down to the very end,” said George Watson, chairman of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year selection committee. “We certainly have some outstanding candidates on this year’s watch list representing both Power 5 and Group of 5 schools, each one playing a key role in their team’s success this year. It’s going to be fun watching these outstanding players progress over the final six weeks of the season.”
The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s. He was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this summer.
Headlining the list of returning players is a pair of Georgia standouts in Tristin English from Georgia Tech and Aaron Schunk from Georgia.
English, a sophomore right-hander and infielder, is hitting .310 in 36 games for the Yellow Jackets with nine home runs and 36 RBI while fielding at a .986 clip. On the mound he is 2-0 with a 4.72 ERA and three saves in nine appearances. In 13 1/3 innings, he has walked just four and struck out 12.
Schunk, a junior right-hander and infielder, is a big reason why the Bulldogs lead the SEC East division. He is second on the team with a .336 batting average with six home runs and 28 RBI. He is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 10 saves in 13 appearances, walking just three and striking out 14 in 17 innings of work.
One of the top newcomers to this year’s list is hulking Oklahoma hurler Cade Cavali. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA in nine starts for the Sooners, striking out 44 in 48 1/3 innings of work. At the plate he is hitting .319 in 19 games with four home runs and 17 RBI.
Leading the small school contingent is junior right-hander/first baseman Chris Wright from Bryant. Wright is hitting .285 with five home runs and 32 RBI, while on the mound he is 1-1 with eight saves in 19 1/3 innings, walking 11 and striking out 39.
“Those are just a handful of the talented two-way players on this year’s watch list,” Watson said. “And with more than a month to go until the postseason, I expect each one of these players to make a push both individually and in leading their team’s playoff hopes.”
For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
Reprinted with permission of the College Baseball Hall of Fame
JOHN OLERUD TWO-WAY PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST Name School Conference Logan Allen Flordina Intl. Conference USA Will Brennan Kansas St. Big 12 Alec Burleson East Carolina AAC Ben Casparius North Carolina ACC Cade Cavalli Oklahoma Big 12 Alex Dorethy Western Illinois Summit Tristin English Georgia Tech. ACC Kamron Fields Texas Big 12 J.C. Flowers Florida St. ACC Joe Georgini NJIT Atlantic Sun Connor Grammes Xavier Big East Matt Lloyd Indiana Big Ten Darnell Maisonet Delaware St. Mid-Eastern Will Matthiesen Stanford Pac-12 Alvin Melendez Fordham Atlantic 10 Max Meyere Minnesota Big Ten Kevin Milan St. Mary's (CA) West Coast Shane Muntz Wake Forest ACC Pavin Parks Kent St. Mid-American Casey Schmitt San Diego St. Mountain West Aaron Schunk Georgia SEC Davis Sharpe Clemson ACC Corey Treyes Coppin St. Mid-Eastern Brandon Wilkes Bethune-Cookman Mid-Eastern Chris Wright Bryant Northeast