DALLAS (NCBWA) – Thirty players have been named to the initial
watch list for the inaugural National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced Wednesday. The
award will be given annually to the top relief pitcher in Division I.
Fifteen pitchers who make up the initial 2005 watch list were ranked
among the nation's Top 50 at the end of the 2004 season.
Cal-Irvine's Blair Erickson has the most saves of any pitcher on the
watch list after finishing second in the nation with 17 saves behind South
Carolina's Chad Blackwell, who finished the year with 20, three saves short
of the NCAA season record. Santa Clara's Anthony Rea and College of Charleston's
Brett Harker each had 13 saves a season ago, while Davidson's Jay Heafner
had 11. A total of eight pitchers that appear on the 2005 watch list finished
last season with 10 or more saves.
The 2005 watch list represents 15 conferences, led by three players from
each of the Atlantic Coast, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Southern conferences.
The Big 12, Big South, Conference-USA, Mid-American and Southeastern conferences
each have two players representing their leagues, while the Big East, Big
West, Missouri Valley, West Coast and Western Athletic conferences each
have one player.
2005 NCBWA STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
||Ft. Thomas, Ky.
|J. Brent Cox
||Bay City, Texas
||Junction City, Kan.
||Fair Oaks. Calif.
|John Gaub (L)
||South St. Paul, Minn.
||Glen Cove, N.Y.
||College of Charleston
|Brad Kilby (L)
||San Jose State
||Elk Grove, Calif.
|Casey Lambert (L)
||Palo Alto, Calif.
||Rocky Point, N.C.
|Derek Roach (L)
||La Puente, Calif.
|Will Startup (L)
||Los Gatos, Calif.
||State College, Pa.
||Round Rock, Texas
||San Bernadino, Calif.
indicates left-handed pitcher
"Relief pitching is a component of the college game that is just as important
as starting pitching, hitting or defense," Mike Montoro, NCBWA President,
said when the creation of the award was announced. "It is an area that is
often overlooked and underappreciated. Because of that, the NCBWA board
believed that now was an appropriate time to initiate such an award. We
are excited that this important part of the game is being recognized with
a national award this season."
Nominations were made by each school's baseball sports information contact.
A mid-season release, including the national saves leaders, will be updated
during the week of April 18. At the end the regular season, the Division
I leader in saves and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected
as the award's first finalists. These finalists will be released on Wednesday,
June 1, just prior to the beginning of NCAA regional play.
From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select
a winner. The first annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 8,
two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Xanthus-Dick Howser Trophy to
the nation's top player. It also selects a Division I All-America Team,
Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the
Year and Division III Players of the Year.
For more information on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, contact
Todd Lamb at The Ohio State University
at 614-292-6861 or Russ Anderson
at Conference USA at 214-774-1351.
2005 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
• Jan. 27: NCBWA introduces Stopper of the Year
• Week of Feb. 21: Initial watch list released
• Week of April 18: Midseason update released
• Wed., June 1: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
• Wed., June 8: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced