DALLAS (NCBWA) North Carolina first baseman Dustin
Ackley, Arizona State pitcher Mike Leake and San Diego
State pitcher Stephen Strasburg have been named as finalists
for the 2009 Dick Howser Trophy in balloting by the National
Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and in conjunction with
the College Baseball Foundation, the Dick Howser Trophy committee
and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
winner of the Howser Trophy will be announced in Lubbock, Texas,
on July 2, during the inaugural College Baseball Awards Show, held
at the United Spirit Arena and shown on MLB.com. The nationally
broadcasted event will be followed by the College Baseball Hall
of Fame induction ceremony on July 3 in Lubbock.
All three finalists for the 23rd Annual Howser Trophy embody
the 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.
Ackley, the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year
and a junior from Walnut Cove, N.C., is a consensus 2009 All-America
performer. He leads the NCAA World Series-competing Tar Heels with
a .412 average, has started all 63 games for the 47-16 squad, is
103-for-250 at the plate, has scored 73 runs, along with 17 doubles,
four triples, a team-leading 22 homers, 70 RBIs, slugging percentage
of .776 with 194 total bases, and an on-base percentage of .776.
He has been on all-tournament teams for both the NCAA Chapel Hill
Regional and Super Regional.
He scored a school-record 82 runs and stole 19 bases as a junior,
while helping coach Mike Fox's team make it to the NCAA World Series
for the third year in a row in '08 and was a key member of the 2007
entry, which was national runner-up to Oregon State for the second
year in succession. Ackley also was on both the Howser and Brooks
Wallace Award national watch lists as a sophomore.
|The three finalists for
2009 Dick Howser Trophy
Leake, the two-time Pacific-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year
in 2008 and '09, leads the nation in pitching victories with a 16-1
mark, as well as a microscopic earned run average of 1.36 prior
to his debut in the CWS this week. The junior right-hander from
Fallbrook , Calif. , has seven complete games in 17 starts and is
one of the real workhorses in college baseball this year with
132.2 innings pitched. He has tossed two complete-game shutouts
and was part of another blanking.
The ASU ace for coach Pat Murphy has a 7:1 strikeout-to-walk
ratio with 150 whiffs and 21 walks in the 132-plus innings and an
average of 10.2 strikeouts every nine innings. Leake has surrendered
just 20 earned runs and 79 hits (5.4 each nine IP) and is among
the Top Five in NCAA statistics in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched,
and walks per nine innings. He also has batted .303 as a designated
hitter in 15 contests with four doubles and four RBI in eight starts
as DH. The standout righty has a career record of 40-6 in three
seasons as an All-Pac 10 hurler for the Sun Devils.
Strasburg has had a true season to remember as a junior right-handed
stalwart for coach Tony Gwynn's Aztecs. The San Diego, Calif., resident
is the national leader in strikeouts with 195 and No. 2 in Division
I with a 1.32 ERA and hits allowed per nine innings with 5.37 to
compliment a 13-1 overall record. The 2008 USA Baseball Player of
the Year for all divisions, Strasburg was the first selection Tuesday
in the Major League Baseball free agent draft by the Washington
Nationals. Ackley was a first round selection (second overall) of
the Seattle Mariners while Leake was the eighth choice in the opening
round by the Cincinnati Reds.
Also a finalist for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award with
Ackley and Leake, the SDSU right-hander is the 2009 College Baseball
Foundation Pitcher of the Year and totally dominated the Mountain
West Conference in '09. In round-robin league play, he was 7-0 with
111 strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA in eight starts. Overall, Strasburg
(two-time MWC Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore and junior) pitched
109 innings in 15 starts, had a pair of complete games, had a hand
in four shutouts (two in personal complete games), gave up 65 hits,
and walked just 19 hitters in 15 contests. Opponents batted just
.172 against the Aztecs' standout.
Winners of the national awards also will be feted at the various
sites of the sponsoring and voting bodies before or after the national
awards' show as determined by the awards committees.
The 2009 season marks the 23rd annual presentation of the Dick
Howser Trophy, which traditionally has been presented in Omaha,
Neb., around the NCAA World Series and at campus sites during the
autumn following spring awards. Howser Trophy recipients also have
been lauded at the Governor's Baseball Dinner in St. Petersburg
in conjunction with its founder and owner - the St. Petersburg Area
Chamber of Commerce.
Voting for the Dick Howser Trophy has been conducted by the NCBWA
membership since 1999. The NCBWA also selects the Stopper, Coach
and Freshmen Player and Pitcher of the Year.
The joint presentation on July 2 of the Howser Trophy with the
Brooks Wallace Shortstop Award, Stopper, Pitcher, and Coach of the
Year and other awards on MLB.com will be a first in 2009 after months
of discussion among the sponsoring agencies.
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, P, Baylor,
1999; Mark Teixeira, 1B, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC,
2001; Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickey Weeks, 2B, Southern
U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon,
3B, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, P, Houston, 2006; David Price,
P, Vanderbilt, 2007; and Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists.
Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's
only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
2009 Dick Howser Trophy:
May 15: Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists announced
June 13: Dick Howser Trophy finalists announced
July 2: Dick Howser Trophy Winner announced on
the College Baseball Awards Show
More on the Dick Howser Trophy
Official site (dickhowsertrophy.com)