LUBBOCK, Texas – The return of college baseball this season so far has brought about some tremendous performances on the mound, including several no-hitters as well as the emergence of a new crop of power arms to go with the talented group that returned from the COVID-19-interrupted season of 2020.
Together, this has created an extremely talented group of pitchers that highlight the 2021 Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List, released Tuesday by the College Baseball Foundation. The watch list includes not only some of the top starting pitchers in the nation but also those who are nails at the end of the game with several saves through the first six weeks of the season.
The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented this summer by the CBF.
“This is a tremendous group of pitchers,” said Chris Snead, co-chair of the Pitcher of the Year Award committee. “To limit this group to just under 50 is difficult, and we expect the selection of the recipient to be just a hard of a task. The group as a whole is extremely talented, and we have enjoyed watching them pitch this season.”
The always pitching-rich Southeastern Conference dominates the list with 13 pitchers, including three each from Vanderbilt and Mississippi State and two from Ole Miss. The Big 12 has eight pitchers on the list, three from TCU.
Additionally, three other schools – Grand Canyon, UC Santa Barbara and Southern Mississippi – have two pitchers each on the watch list.
Leading the group of starting pitchers on the list are the Vanderbilt tandem of sophomore right-hander Jack Leiter and junior right-hander Kumar Rocker. So far this season, each has racked up at least seven wins and boasts an ERA below 2.00, Leiter at 0.98 and Rocker at 1.64 with a combined 175 strikeouts.
A host of pitchers are on their heels.
Rodney Boone, a sophomore from UC Santa Barbara, is 7-1 on the year with a 2.10 ERA, racking up 60 strikeouts in 51 innings. Senior Geremy Guerrero from Indiana State is 7-0 with a 1.11 ERA and 67 strikeouts.
A pair of Big 12 pitchers are at the top of the pack as well. Left-hander Russell Smith, a sophomore from TCU, is 6-1 with a 3.23 ERA and 69 strikeouts, while Texas Tech senior left-hander Patrick Monteverde, a transfer from Division II Seton Hill, is 6-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 59 strikeouts.
A pair of mid-major pitchers are also showing out. Junior Joe Rock from Ohio is 6-1 with 2.02 ERA and 61 strikeouts, while Dominic Hamel from Dallas Baptist, a junior, is 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 76 strikeouts.
The most successful reliever on the list so far has been Stanford senior Zach Grech, who has racked up four wins and 11 saves with a 2.64 ERA and 24 strikeouts.
Also having late-game success is Baylor senior Luke Boyd, who has recorded eight saves for the Bears in 16 appearances with a 1.02 ERA and 26 strikeouts.
“We have really enjoyed being able to watch the best collegiate pitchers in the nation get back on the mound and do what they do this spring,” said Brian Melakian, co-chair of the Pitcher of the Year Award committee . “The incredible performances some of these young men have already turned in leave us excited to see what is to come over the rest of the season.”
For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.
2021 NATIONAL PITCHER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST
|Luke Albright||Jr.||Kent State||Mid-American|
|Spencer Arrighetti||Soph.||Louisiana||Sun Belt|
|Sam Bachman||Jr.||Miami (Ohio)||Mid-American|
|Will Bednar||Soph.||Mississippi State||SEC|
|Rodney Boone||Soph.||UC Santa Barbara||Big West|
|Luke Boyd||Sr.||Baylor||Big 12|
|TJ Brock||Jr.||Ohio State||Big Ten|
|Justin Campbell||Fr.||Oklahoma State||Big 12|
|Haylen Green||Sr.||TCU||Big 12|
|Geremy Guerrero||Sr.||Indiana State||Conference USA|
|Steven Hajjar||Soph.||Michigan||Big Ten|
|Dominic Hamel||Jr.||Dallas Baptist||Missouri Valley|
|Austin Krob||Soph.||TCU||Big 12|
|Cole Larsen||Jr.||Kansas||Big 12|
|Christian MacLeod||Jr.||Mississippi State||SEC|
|Ty Madden||Soph.||Texas||Big 12|
|Michael McGreevy||Soph.||UC Santa Barbara||Big West|
|Parker Messick||Fr.||Florida State||ACC|
|Matt Mikulski||Sr.||Fordham||Atlantic 10|
|Patrick Montverde||Sr.||Texas Tech||Big 12|
|Jake Mulholland||Sr.||Oregon State||Pac-12|
|Pierson Ohl||Jr.||Grand Canyon||WAC|
|Walker Powell||Sr.||Southern Mississippi||Conference USA|
|Dustin Saenz||Sr.||Texas A&M||SEC|
|Landon Sims||Soph.||Mississippi State||SEC|
|Russell Smith||Soph.||TCU||Big 12|
|Hunter Stanley||Sr.||Southern Mississippi||Conference USA|
|Carter Young||Fr.||Grand Canyon||WAC|