OMAHA, Neb. (NCBWA) – Five collegiate stars
(three from 2018 NCAA Super Regional contenders) are the finalists
for the 32nd annual Dick Howser Trophy presented
by The Game Headwear in balloting by the National
Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in conjunction with the
Dick Howser Trophy committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber
Catcher Joey Bart of Georgia Tech, Texas second
baseman Kody Clemens, Auburn starting pitcher
Casey Mize, Florida starting pitcher Brady
Singer and Illinois first baseman Bren Spillane
are the five finalists for the prestigious 32nd annual awarding
of the Howser Trophy.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, June 16, at a 10 a.m.
(CDT) national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park – home of the
72nd annual NCAA World Series.
Each finalist embodies the major principles of character, leadership,
desire, and competitive spirit exhibited by Dick Howser, the All-America
shortstop and later head coach at Florida State before managing
the Kansas City Royals to the world championship in 1985. He also
is the namesake for Dick Howser Stadium at FSU.
Bart, who was the second overall pick in the MLB draft earlier
this week, was named a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award for the
nation's outstanding collegiate catcher. He also was named the Atlantic
Coast Conference Player-of-the-Year after hitting .359 with a team-high
16 home runs and drove in 38 runs. A junior, Bart also was tabbed
by the ACC as the league's Defensive Player-of-the-Year and was
a first-team All-ACC selection. He has been named to both the Baseball
America and Collegiate Baseball All-America squads.
The Buford, Ga., native led the ACC in hitting and was second
in slugging percentage (.632) and hits (79), and was in the top
10 in home runs, runs scored and on-base percentage (.471). He posted
a season-high 16-game hitting streak, the longest of the year for
a Yellow Jacket player, and totaled 24 multi-hit games on the season
overall, which included a pair of multi-home run games in which
he blasted two long balls at Mercer on April 10 and on the road
at Virginia on May 14.
A solid defensive catcher, Bart posted a .992 fielding percentage
on the season, threw out 12-of-33 would-be base stealers and recorded
three pickoffs from behind the plate.
Clemens, who led the Longhorns to their first Big 12 conference
title since 2011, spurred Texas to the Super Regional round as a
junior, hitting a team-high .346 with 21 home runs and driving in
68 runs. The Houston native was selected by Detroit in the third
round of the MLB Draft and was honored as the Big 12 Player-of-the-Year
and named to Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball's All-America
teams. A Golden Spikes Award finalist, Clemens defensively has been
a stalwart at second base, helping turn 68 double plays, which ranks
third in the nation.
Mize, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference honoree, was the
first overall pick by the Detroit Tigers after posting a 10-5 record
and posting a 2.95 earned run average. He has struck out 151 batters
in 109.2 innings, while helping the Tigers to the Super Regionals
against top-seed Florida. Mize was named a finalist for the Golden
Spikes Award, was a first-team All-America selection by Baseball
America, while Collegiate Baseball slotted him on its second team.
His 151 strikeouts not only lead the SEC and rank second in the
country, but are also tied for the third most in a single-season
in program history. Dating back to the beginning of last season,
the Springville, Ala., native has struck out 260 batters and issued
only 21 walks. Along with his strikeout total, Mize also leads the
SEC in strikeout-to-walk ratio (12.58), strikeouts per nine innings
(12.39) and WHIP (0.81). His strikeout-to-walk ratio and WHIP are
good for second and third in the country, respectively.
Mize has turned in a quality start in 10 of his 16 trips to the
mound and has gone the distance in three games this season. He took
the mound on March 9 vs. Northeastern and turned in the ninth no-hitter
in program history while totaling 13 strikeouts without issuing
a walk. The 13-strikeout performance against the Huskies was one
of six outings with 10 or more strikeouts this season, including
a record-matching 15 strikeouts vs. Vanderbilt on May 4. Mize joined
former Auburn pitchers Mark Chapman, John Powell, Tim Hudson and
Chris Bootcheck in the 15-strikeout club and was the first SEC pitcher
to accomplish the feat in a conference game since 2012.
Singer was the SEC Pitcher-of-the-Year and a first-round selection
of Kansas City, earning first-team All-America honors from Baseball
America and Collegiate Baseball. Baseball America's National Player
of the Year led a talented Florida staff with an 11-1 record in
14 starts, while fashioning a 2.27 ERA and holding opponents to
a .188 batting average. The Eustis, Fla., native finished with seven
or more strikeouts in eight games, had a season-high 11 strikeouts
against Vanderbilt and also had 10 strikeouts against Kentucky.
His 10 SEC wins led the conference in the regular season and helped
him earn First Team All-SEC honors. Other career awards included
2017 All-SEC Second Team, College World Series All-Tournament Team
and Academic All-SEC.
Singer's career numbers to date are equally as impressive with
a career record of 21-8, ERA of 3.18 and 265 career strikeouts in
264.2 innings pitched. His 265 career strikeouts ranks seventh all-time
Spillane posted a strong season at the plate, hitting .389 with
17 doubles and 23 home runs, while slugging a NCAA-leading .903.
Spillane was named Big Ten Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball's
National Player of the Year and Baseball America listed the junior
on its first-team All-America squad. Spillane was honored as the
Big Ten's Player of the Year and selected by Cincinnati in the third
round of the MLB Draft.
He is the first player in program history to win a national player
of the year award and the first Big Ten player drafted in 2018.
Spillane was the first player in Division I to slug over .900 in
a season since 2009. The Wheeling, Ill., native's rare combo of
speed and power helped him become the first player in Illini history
to have 15 homers and 15 steals in a single season.
Recent finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy have included the
likes of standouts Clemson OF Seth Beer (2016 winner, first freshman
to receive Dick Howser Trophy), Wake Forest 3B Will Craig, Louisville
UTIL Brendan McKay, Kent State P Eric Lauer, and Texas A&M 3B
Boomer White; and 2015 aces Arkansas OF Andrew Benintendi (winner),
UCLA RP David Berg, Vanderbilt SP Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt SS Dansby
Swanson and Miami (Fla.) 3B David Thompson.
The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's
death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami,
1987; Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, Texas,
1989; Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990;
Frank Rodriguez, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick,
Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton,
Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, Florida
State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, Baylor, 1999;
Mark Teixeira, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001, Khalil
Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickie Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003;
Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska,
2005; Brad Lincoln, P/DH, Houston, 2006; David Price, P, Vanderbilt,
2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008; Stephen Strasburg, P,
San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010; Taylor Jungmann,
P, Texas, 2011; Mike Zunino, C, Florida, 2012; Kris Bryant, 3B,
San Diego, 2013; A.J. Reed, Kentucky, 2014; Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas,
2015; Seth Beer, Clemson, 2016; Brendan McKay, Louisville, 2017.
2018 Dick Howser Trophy:
• Thu., May 17: Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists announced
• Thu., June 7: Dick Howser Trophy finalists announced
• Sat., June 16: Dick Howser Trophy presented at College World Series
• More on the Dick Howser Trophy