2023 Pitcher of the Year semifinalists defy offensive explosion

May 17th, 2023

LUBBOCK, Texas – There might be a sense in college baseball that the offensive numbers are up from last year, but you’d never be able to tell that by the statistics being put up by the pitchers across the country.

Five players with 100-plus strikeouts and seven with sub-2.00 ERAs highlight the 2023 Pitcher of the Year semifinalist list released by the College Baseball Foundation.

"This strong list of semifinalists continues to impress as the season draws to a close,” said Pitcher of the Year Award co-chair Chris Snead. “It will be difficult to make a decision because the competition is so good, and the talent level is so high."

One thing in common among all 25 semifinalists on the list is tremendous WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) numbers. None of the 25 semifinalists have a WHIP above 1.36 and five even have a WHIP below 1.00.

But it’s the strikeouts that help tell the story with this group; In addition to the five with triple-digit strikeouts, there are seven others with at least 80 on the season.

Headlining the flamethrowers going into the final week of the regular season is LSU’s Paul Skenes. The 2022 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year winner, Skenes has fanned 139 batters and compiled a 1.73 ERA and 0.79 WHIP to go with nine wins.

As far as wins go, Wake Forest’s Rhett Lowder tops all semifinalists with 11 wins. He has compiled a 1.52 ERA and 0.94 WHIP while striking out 96 for the top-ranked Demon Deacons. Three players – Grant Rogers of McNeese State, Omar Melendez of Alabama State and Tanner Hall of Southern Miss, have won 10 games each.

In terms of strikeouts, Samford’s Jacob Cravey is second behind Skenes with 105 strikeouts followed by Nico Zeglin of Long Beach State with 104 and Ryan Johnson of Dallas Baptist and Jesse Barker of Central Arkansas with 100 each.

Relievers also are having fantastic years. Simon Miller of UT-San Antonio leads the semifinalists with 11 saves to go with seven wins, a 2.04 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 72 strikeouts. Kansas State’s Tyson Neighbors is close behind with 10 saves, four wins, a 1.41 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and 70 strikeouts. Neighbors’ ERA ranks as the lowest among all semifinalists.

"As we get closer to the end of the regular season, there is a small group of pitchers who are clearly separating themselves from the competition,” Pitcher of the Year Award co-chair Brian Melakian said. “It will be fun to watch how they close out this impressive season.”

For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.


Name, Class, School, Conference

  • Micah Ashman, Sophomore, Utah, Pac-12
  • Sam Armstrong, Junior, Old Dominion, Sun Belt
  • Jesse Barker, Junior, Central Arkansas, ASun
  • Diego Barrera, Senior, Loyola-Marymount, West Coast
  • Hudson Barrett, Freshman, UC-Santa Barbara, Big West
  • Brandon Beckel, Junior, Texas Tech, Big 12
  • Jacob Cravey, Junior, Samford, Southern
  • Connelly Early, Junior, Virginia, ACC
  • Ryan Johnson, Sophomore, Dallas Baptist, Conference USA
  • Tanner Hall, Junior, Southern Miss, Sun Belt
  • Josh Hartle, Sophomore, Wake Forest, ACC
  • Ryan Kraft, Sophomore, Indiana, Big Ten
  • Justin Loer, Sophomore, Xavier, Big East
  • Rhett Lowder, Junior, Wake Forest, ACC
  • Lucas Mahlstedt, Sophomore, Wofford, Southern
  • Jacob Mayers, Freshman, Nicholls State, Southland
  • Omar Melendez, Sophomore, Alabama State, SWAC
  • Simon Miller, Junior, UT-San Antonio, Conference USA
  • Tyson Neighbors, Sophomore, Kansas State, Big 12
  • Grant Rogers, Junior, McNeese, Southland
  • Paul Skenes, Junior, LSU, SEC
  • Hagen Smith, Sophomore, Arkansas, SEC
  • Grayson Stewart, Sophomore, Troy, Sun Belt
  • Isaac Stebens, Junior, Oklahoma State, Big 12
  • Nico Zeglin, Senior, Long Beach State, Big West