OMAHA, Neb. (NCBWA) – Kentucky junior pitcher/first baseman
A.J. Reed, who enjoyed possibly the greatest individual
season in UK history this year, is the 28th recipient of the
Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations,
as college baseball's Player of the Year. The presentation was made
Saturday during a national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park,
site of the 2014 College World Series.
The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida
State University All-America shortstop and Major League player and
manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as
college baseball's most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration
for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral
character, and courage, qualities which were exemplified by Dick
"It is of utmost importance for the Dick Howser Trophy Committee
to identify the top college baseball player in the country not only
based on ability," David Feaster, the committee's executive director
said. "However – equally important if not more, are the qualities
that make up the spirit of the Trophy's namesake, Dick Howser –
leadership, character and courage.
"A.J. Reed embodies all of the qualities that we identify when
selecting the award winner. His numbers both as a hitter and pitcher
were at the top of one of the nation's finest leagues, the Southeastern
Conference. His numbers speak for the outstanding season he had
– and he did it with excellent sportsmanship and class."
Reed, who leads the nation in home runs with 23, slugging percentage
at .735 and OPS (batting average plus slugging percentage) at 1.211,
also had a 12-2 pitching record for coach Gary Henderson's Wildcats.
He is Kentucky's first national baseball player of the year and
is bidding to become the third consensus national player from the
Southeastern Conference, along with 2007 Howser Trophy recipient
David Price of Vanderbilt and Alabama's David Magadan, the 1985
honoree and current hitting coach for the Texas Rangers.
The native of basketball-famous Terre Haute, Ind., batted .336
with 73 RBI and a .476 on-base percentage for the '14 Wildcats.
He also started 16 games for Kentucky, had a 2.09 earned run average,
gave up 98 hits in 112 innings of work, struck out 71 hitters, and
walked only 29. He accounted for just under one-third (12) of the
37-25 Wildcats' total team victories.
|A.J. Reed accepts the
2014 Dick Howser Trophy
The 6-4, 240-pound SEC Player of the Year adds the Dick Howser
Trophy to an arm's length list of accomplishments this year. A finalist
for the 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, he already has earned
first team All-America honors from the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball,
has been tabbed the NCBWA District III Player of the Year, and been
multi-honored with NCBWA Division I, NCAA.com and Louisville Slugger
Collegiate Baseball National Hitter of the Week honors during the
Reed's consistency at the plate and on the mound is reflected
by career totals of 35 doubles, 40 home runs, 160 RBIs, a .559 slugging
percentage, .415 on-base percentage, and .306 batting average in
172 games since 2012. His breakout season on the hill more than
doubled his career wins' tally, and he has a 2.83 earned run average
with just 53 walks and 174 career strikeouts in 248 all-time innings.
Some of his numerous season record highlights for UK in 2014
have been the school home run record, second-highest pitching victory
total, second-most walks by a Kentucky hitter, third-most RBI, third-best
pitching winning percentage (minimum 10 decisions) at .857, fifth-highest
total base numbers, fifth-lowest ERA, and the No. 6 slugging percentage
in one year. His career marks at the Lexington university are second-most
homers (40) and RBI (160) and Top 12 positions in total bases, at-bats,
walks (99), sacrifice flies (nine), hit by pitches (26), ERA, wins
and innings pitched.
The 2014 National Player of the Year also was selected in the
second round of the recent Major League Baseball first-year player's
draft by the Houston Astros. He is just the eighth Kentucky standout
drafted in the first or second rounds of MLB selections and helped
UK advance to the 2014 NCAA Louisville Regional, where the team
Reed was one of five fellow standouts who were 2014 Howser Trophy
finalists along with Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, LSU
pitcher Aaron Nola, Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost, and Oregon
State pitcher Ben Wetzler. He is the sixth player from the SEC to
achieve this honor since 1987.
A Florida native, Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at
Florida State (1957-58), then head coach of the Seminoles in 1979
after a career as a Major League player and coach. After one year
in the college ranks, he returned to the majors to manage the New
York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and won the World Series with
the Royals in 1985. The baseball stadium on the Florida State campus
is named for Howser.
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.
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; and A.J. Reed, Kentucky, 2014.
2014 Dick Howser Trophy:
• Thu., May 15: Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists announced
• Thu., June 5: Dick Howser Trophy finalists announced
• Sat., June 14: Dick Howser Trophy winner announced
| News conference video
• More on the Dick Howser Trophy