With the end of the Big 12 regular season upon us, its time to look at the individual players that stood out at their respective positions. Some of the top players aren’t a surprise, but there are a few notable subtractions that would’ve been hard predictions before the season began, notably at third base where Nebraska junior Cody Asche held steady at the end to pass a hard-slumping Oklahoma junior Garrett Buechele, a preseason favorite for Player of the Year honors.
Texas A&M OF Tyler Naquin finished the season strong, claiming Player of the Year honors. The sophomore led the league in average, hits, and runs scored, while finishing among the top 10 in five other categories.
Texas P Taylor Jungmann was an easy pick for Pitcher of the Year. The junior was a perfect 12-0 in 14 starts, with a 0.95 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 113.2 innings of work. Jungmann logged four complete games, three of them shutouts, and held opponents to a .167 average at the plate.
Newcomer of the Year honors went to another Texas pitcher. Longhorn closer Corey Knebel had a freshman year that almost mirrored that of former Longhorn great Huston Street. Knebel picked up a loss against Hawaii early in the season, but rebounded with a 0.94 ERA, 16 saves, 7 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 38 innings over his final 25 appearances. His ERA was 0.24 entering his final appearance before allowing three runs against Texas A&M in the season finale.
Texas SS Brandon Loy began the year as a player known for his above average fielding ability, but finished the year as the leagues most well-rounded shortstop. Oklahoma C Tyler Ogle was no surprise, unlike Oklahoma State 1B Zach Johnson, a junior college transfer that slugged his way to a .351 average with 11 home runs.
Texas Tech landed their sophomore duo of 2B Jamodrick McGruder and CF Barrett Barnes on the list. McGruder was one of the toughest outs in the league, reaching base 60 times via walks or hit by pitches. Barnes continued on his strong freshman year with another double-digit home run season, and became on of the top defenders in center field after a move from first base.
Reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Nick Martini saw his stats drop off from last season, but broke the NCAA record for most consecutive games reaching base safely. Oklahoma State DH Dane Phillips led the league in triples.
Baylor UT Brooks Pinckard began the year with high expectations as a closer, but ended up leading the league in stolen bases, and finished the year on the mound as a starter. Oklahoma P Michael Rocha used his senior experience to lead the conference in complete games, but couldn’t overcome Jungmann’s incredible season to claim top pitching honors.
Texas A&M P Ross Stripling started the season in the bullpen, but quickly transitioned into the Aggies’ Sunday starter, and the best Sunday starter in the league. Kansas State closer James Allen finished second in the league with 15 saves, but was a strong factor in the Wildcats’ sixth place finish.
COLLEGE BASEBALL DAILY ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
C Tyler Ogle OKLAHOMA
1B Zach Johnson OKLAHOMA STATE
2B Jamodrick McGruder TEXAS TECH
3B Cody Asche NEBRASKA
SS Brandon Loy TEXAS
OF Tyler Naquin TEXAS A&M
OF Barrett Barnes TEXAS TECH
OF Nick Martini KANSAS STATE
DH Dane Phillips OKLAHOMA STATE
UT Brooks Pinckard BAYLOR
SP Taylor Jungmann TEXAS
SP Michael Rocha OKLAHOMA
SP Ross Stripling TEXAS A&M
RP James Allen KANSAS STATE
RP Corey Knebel TEXAS
Player of the Year: Tyler Naquin TEXAS A&M
Pitcher of the Year: Taylor Jungmann TEXAS
Newcomer of the Year: Corey Knebel TEXAS
COLLEGE BASEBALL DAILY 2011 BIG 12 ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
The Big 12 All-Freshman Team takes a different look than the All-Big 12 team, due to a lack of players at certain positions. Instead of merit garnered by position, this team is based on general overall performance, regardless of position.
Texas landed five players on the team, led by Newcomer of the Year Corey Knebel. 3B Erich Weiss wielded a hot bat from the get go, finishing second in the league with a .370 batting average. C Jacob Felts hasn’t displayed the bat of former Longhorn catchers, but his defense showed a lot of promise as the year progressed. OF Mark Payton started all season long, and showed a solid glove in right field, and ability to hit to all fields. P Nathan Thornhill used a late season surge to make the team, distancing himself from other Texas relievers as a reliable option with a bright future.
Texas Tech placed the second most players on the list with three. After injuries and coaching decisions, Texas Tech’s weekend rotation featured a trio of freshmen pitchers. Duke Von Schamann, a redshirt freshman, finished the year 5-0 after taking over as the team’s Sunday starter. Saturday starter Trey Masek was 5-3 in 15 appearances, including a big win against Texas in Austin. David Paiz doubled as the Friday starter and a corner outfielder. Paiz was 3-4 on the mound, and hit .294 with 13 doubles and two home runs at the plate.
Oklahoma pitchers Dillon Overton and Jordan John saw more action as relievers, but started enough games to give the Sooners some confidence if they end up losing their top three starters. Overton and John combined for a 12-3 record and an ERA under 2.5o.
Texas A&M CF Krey Bratsen joined with 2B Charlie Curl to make the distinguished list. Bratsen started slow, but finished fourth in the league in batting, while Curl posted a .278 average while splitting time at second. Kansas State P/IF Shane Conlon was 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA after spending more time on the mound than at the plate as the season went on. He joins CF Jared King, a .316 hitter with eight home runs, as the only Wildcats in the bunch.
Kansas 2B Kaiana Eldredge found a home in the infield and finished the season batting .262 with 11 doubles and 22 RBI.
C Jacob Felts TEXAS
2B Kaiana Eldredge KANSAS
2B Charlie Curl TEXAS A&M
3B Erich Weiss TEXAS
OF Krey Bratsen TEXAS A&M
OF Jared King KANSAS STATE
OF Mark Payton TEXAS
UT David Paiz TEXAS TECH
P Shane Conlon KANSAS STATE
P Jordan John OKLAHOMA
P Dillon Overton OKLAHOMA
P Corey Knebel TEXAS*
P Nathan Thornhill TEXAS
P Trey Masek TEXAS TECH
P Duke Von Schamann TEXAS TECH