STARKVILLE, Miss. (NCBWA) — Forty players have been named to the initial watch list for the fourth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced Thursday. The award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
With all five of the finalists for the 2007 honor having concluded their collegiate careers, a wide-open race for this year’s Stopper of the Year Award in anticipated. Sam Houston State relief ace Luke Prihoda, a 24th-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, claimed last year’s award. Eight of the nominees were included in the 2008 NCBWA Preseason All-America Team announced by the organization in December.
Nineteen different conferences are represented on this year’s talent-filled watch list, with the Pac-10 Conference leading the way with five selections. The Big East and the Big 12 both have four pitchers each on this year’s watch list while the Big Ten, SEC and the West Coast Conference are presented by three players each.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 14, including national saves leaders. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released Wednesday, May 28, prior to start of NCAA regional tournament competition.
The NCBWA’s All-America Committee will then select the winner, with this year’s recipient to be announced Wednesday, June 4, before the opening of NCAA super regional play.
Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State topping the field in 2007.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, also presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation’s top player in addition to naming a Division I All-America Team, Division I and Division III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the 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 II and III Players of the Year. For more information on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, contact Shamus McKnight at the University of Nebraska at 402-472-7772 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1351.
For additional information on the 2008 NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, contact Joe Dier at Mississippi State University (662-325-8040).
2008 NCBWA STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
PITCHER SCHOOL YR HOMETOWN
Brian Alas Richmond Jr. Port Washington, N.Y.
David Anderson Coastal Carolina So. Lexington, S.C.
Jason Buursma Bucknell Sr. Seattle, Wash.
Kyle Carr (LHP) Minnesota Jr. Linton, N.D.
Nick Cassavechia Baylor Sr. Dallas, Texas
Daniel Edwards Kansas State Sr. Kingwood, Texas
Robbie Elsemiller Stetson Sr. Okeechobee, Fla.
Tim Erickson (LHP) Lamar Sr. Sour Lake, Texas
Danny Farquhar Louisiana-Lafayette Jr. Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Jordan Flasher George Mason Jr. Manassas, Va.
Bryant George Southern Illinois So. DuQuoin, Ill.
Kyle Gibson Missouri So. Greenfield, Ind.
Matt Gorgen California Jr. Clayton, Calif.
A.J. Griffin San Diego So. El Cajon, Calif.
Jake Hale Ohio State Jr. Albany, Ohio
James Hayes Rider So. Sunrise, Fla.
Ross Humes (LHP) Washington State Jr. Federal Way, Wash.
Jason Jarvis Arizona State So. Scottsdale, Ariz.
Matt Karl (LHP) Connecticut Jr. Wallingford, Conn.
Joe Kelly UC-Riverside So. Corona, Calif.
Dan Kennedy Georgetown Sr. West Orange, N.J.
Jeff Lockwood (LHP) Tennessee So. Knoxville, Tenn.
Jeff Lombard Santa Clara Sr. Woodinville, Wash.
Colin Lynch St. John’s Jr. Manchester, N.H.
Chris Manning Belmont Jr. Nashville, Tenn.
Eryk McConnell North Carolina State Sr. Waynesville, N.C.
Drew O’Neil Penn State Jr. Roswell, Ga.
Shawn Sanford South Florida So. Cinnamison, N.J.
Cody Satterwhite Ole Miss Jr. Jackson, Miss.
Daniel Schlereth (LHP) Arizona Jr. Lone Tree, Colo.
Michael Seander Duke So. Pawtucket, R.I.
Brian Shaw Long Beach State Sr. Livermore, Calif.
Matt Shoemaker Eastern Michigan Jr. Trenton, Mich.
David Slovak Delaware Sr. Louisville, Ky.
Cole St. Clair (LHP) Rice Sr. Santa Ana Calif.
Jason Stoffel Arizona So. Agoura, Calif.
Kyle Thebeau Texas A&M Jr. Corpus Christi, Texas
Pat Venditte (LHP/RHP) Creighton Sr. Omaha, Neb.
Aaron Weatherford Mississippi State Jr. Crystal Springs, Miss.
Mark Willinsky Santa Clara So. Las Vegas, Nev.