Three ACC Players Named Finalists for Dick Howser Trophy
DALLAS – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced the finalists for the 2016 Dick Howser Trophy presented by Easton Foundations on Thursday. The list of five finalists includes three players from the ACC.
Clemson freshman outfielder Seth Beer, Wake Forest junior third baseman Will Craig, and Louisville sophomore utility player (SP/1B) Brendan McKay represent the ACC. The other two finalists are Kent State junior pitcher Eric Lauer and Texas A&M junior third baseman Boomer White.
Balloting was conducted by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, in conjunction with the Dick Howser Trophy committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network on Friday, June 17, and then a press conference with the winner will be held in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. (CDT), the opening day of the 2016 College World Series.
Each finalist also represents the ideals 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.
Beer was named a Baseball America first-team All-American and Collegiate Baseball’s co-Freshman of the Year and a second team All-American. The 2016 ACC Player of the Year hit .369 with a .700 slugging percentage, a .535 OBP, 70 RBI and 57 runs. Beer ranked third nationally in OBP and walks, ninth in slugging percentage, and 12th in home runs. The Suwanee, Ga., native slugged 18 homers and 13 doubles, walked 62 times, finished the season with a 60-game on-base streak and posted a 26-game hitting streak during the campaign.
A native of Johnson City, Tenn., Craig was named a first-team All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The first-team All-ACC selection led Wake Forest to its first NCAA Regional berth since 2007 and ranks third nationally in slugging percentage with a .731 mark. He also ranks eighth with a .520 OBP and eighth with 1.2 runs batted in per game. For the season, Craig led the Demon Deacons with a .379 average, 16 home runs, 66 RBI and 563 runs. He also posted a team-high nine saves, going 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings pitched.
A native of Darlington, Pa., McKay was a first-team All-American by Baseball America and a Louisville Slugger third-team All-American. He is 12-3 on the mound with a 2.12 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 119 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched, while hitting .336 with five home runs, a .420 OBP and 40 RBI as the Cardinals’ primary first baseman. McKay was a first-team All-ACC selection as both a starting pitcher and utility player, and was the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Louisville Regional after hitting .455 with a homer and three RBI, and striking out 10 in a win on the mound. He also was named the NCBWA Pitcher of the Month in February. McKay also is a semifinalist for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, which he won in 2015, and was a semifinalist for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year Award.
Former ACC players have won the award six times: Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, Florida State, 1997; Mark Teixeira, 1B, Georgia Tech, 2000; Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; and Buster Posey, C, Florida State.