It's that time of the year again. Watch lists for the most coveted collegiate baseball awards are being posted and preseason rankings are beginning to appear. Major college baseball is still a few months away, but the drum rolls begin now. In this post I'll look at the Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award. The College Baseball Foundation has posted the 2008 pre-season watch list, which includes a lot of names we recognize on the Cape and a few we may see this season.
Last year we posted on the pre-season watch lists on Jan. 4.
Like last year, Cape Cod Baseball League players also topped the preseason watch list for player of the year. This year, I would estimate that 25-30 percent of the players on the watch list played on the Cape. That number could well be higher.
Last year's Brooks Wallace award went to Vanderbilt pitcher, David Price. Price was the first overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and is currently pitching in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The 2006 winner was standout pitcher/designated hitter Brad Lincoln of Houston. Nebraska's Alex Gordon, now with the Kansas City Royals, took home the 2005 trophy. The inaugural award was given in 2004 to Kurt Suzuki of Cal State Fullerton, who is now catching for the Oakland A's.
This year you will see big names from Cape seasons past like Brett Wallace, Beamer Weems, Terry Doyle, Josh Satow, Mike Bianucci, Nick Cassavechia, Matt and Scott Gorgen, Bobby Gagg, Nate Freiman, Christian Friedrich, T.J. Hose, Cole Figueroa, Buster Posey, Gordon Beckham, Collin Cowgill, Danny Farquhar, Yonder Alonso, Mark Sobolewski, Aaron Crow, Johnny Giavotella, Tim Federowicz, James Darnell, Justin Smoak, Dominic de la Osa and Allan Dykstra.
Several of these players also appear on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) preseason All-American list, notably Satow, Wallace, Giavotella and Scott Gorgen.
I can't speak to all the criteria that will go into the selection but if it were based on what I've seen from players on the Cape, I'd choose:
Pitchers: Terry Doyle was a star pitcher with the Y-D Red Sox through two consecutive Cape championships. Aaron Crow is an obvious choice for the Wallace Award. I thought Danny Farquhar (Harwich) was an incredible pitcher this past season and I look for big things from this junior from La. Lafayette. I am regionally biased on this one but Nick Hagadone, the Washington Huskies pitcher, was lights out for this poor-performing Pac-10 team. But Nick is an incredible competitor and I think it's a credit to the Wallace Watch List that he's on it.
Hitters: For my money, I would take Brett Wallace. I saw Brett play a few games for Arizona St. and for Falmouth. Last summer he was picked up by Team USA. The pros will work with his body but I've not seen a better hitter in college. Gordon Beckham tore up the Cape League last season. James Darnell was someone I picked early last season. And Justin Smoak is probably the easy choice here. Listen to our CodBall Conversation with Smoak.
In a future post I will wonder through the preseason rankings, such as the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper rankings.