Four More Big Ten Baseball Players Named to National Awards Watch Lists
May 3, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Four Big Ten baseball standouts have been selected to midseason watch lists for three different national awards this week. Illinois catcher Lars Davis, Michigan utility player Zach Putnam, Minnesota outfielder Mike Mee and Ohio State pitcher Cory Luebke are all in contention for the 2007 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award. Davis was also named a semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award and was added as a contender for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award.
Davis, a junior from Grande Prairie, Alberta, has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA in batting average and currently leads the conference with a .439 mark in all games played. The junior also fronts all Big Ten players in slugging percentage (.673), home runs (9), total bases (115) and hits (75) this season. Behind the plate, Davis has gunned down 18 runners on the base paths, nine of which have been in conference games.
Added to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List on Wednesday, Davis joins Iowa's Dusty Napoleon and Ohio State's Eric Fryer as candidates for the 2007 honor.
Putnam, who pitches and plays outfield and designated hitter for the Wolverines, leads the conference with 23 RBI in Big Ten games. In all contests this year, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native is batting .347 with a team-leading 44 RBI. On the mound, the senior is 5-3 in 10 appearances with 43 total strikeouts, averaging over 7 Ks per nine innings.
Mee, a senior from Richmond, Minn., entered this week with the fifth-best batting average in NCAA Division I (.455). In Big Ten games this year, the outfielder is slugging at a .700 clip and is second in the conference with 22 RBI. Overall this season, Mee is reaching base at a .494 average with a .597 slugging percentage for an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.091, which improves over 100 points to 1.192 in conference play.
A two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week this season, Luebke leads the conference with 60 strikeouts, 19 of which have been looking. The left-handed junior is third in the Big Ten with a 1.84 ERA and has held opponents to a .211 batting average in 73.1 innings of work. The Maria Stein, Ohio, native is 6-0 in 10 starts this year and 2-0 in five starts during the conference schedule.
Davis, Putnam, Mee and Luebke are four members of a 112-player watch list for the Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually, by the College Baseball Foundation, to the nation's top collegiate baseball player.
The Golden Spikes Award is given to the nation's premier amateur baseball player. Davis is one of 50 semifinalists for the prestigious award.
Davis, Napoleon and Fryer highlight the list of 30 players vying for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, which is presented each year to the nation's top catcher.
Also in contention for national awards, Michigan's Eric Rose and Ohio State's Jacob Howell are two of 30 finalists for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, which will be presented to a college baseball player for the first time this year.
Michigan's Chris Fetter and Mike Wilson as well as Ohio State's Luebke and J.B. Shuck were named members of the preseason watch list for the Roger Clemens Award, which recognizes the finest pitchers in college baseball. Voting for the Roger Clemens Award begins on Monday.