College Baseball Foundation announces 2022 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award watch list
LUBBOCK, Texas – Plenty of new names and new schools highlight the 11th annual John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award watch list for 2022, which was released Tuesday by the College Baseball Foundation.
While some familiar names from last year’s watch list are back for this season, 2022, so far, is being dominated by the latest crop of newcomers to the game of college baseball. And, as usual, the watch list represents the wide swath of schools from around the country with players who have already made significant contributions to their team’s success.
“The players on this year’s list are truly some of the top athletes in college baseball and are making tremendous impacts on the mound, at the plate and in the field,” said George Watson, chairman of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year selection committee. “It will be exciting to keep an eye on them going forward.”
The award is named for former Washington State University standout John Olerud, who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s. He was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this summer.
Headlining the list this year are five players who already have distinguished themselves by earning Olerud Player of the Week honors.
One of the surprise teams of the season so far has been Virginia, which has rocketed into the Top 10 of most major polls, and a big reason for that is senior Devin Ortiz. A two-time winner of the weekly Olerud Award, Ortiz is hitting .333 for the No. 2-ranked Cavaliers with three home runs and 28 RBI while compiling a 4-1 record on the mound with a 2.05 ERA. In eight appearances – four starts – he has walked just two and struck out 32 in 22 innings.
A pair of freshmen are making a big impact for their respective teams, also earning Olerud Award weekly honors. Michael Braswell, a pitcher/shortstop at South Carolina, is hitting .292 with one home run and 15 RBI. On the mound is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and three saves in five innings, striking out nine. Braden Montgomery, a pitcher and outfielder at Stanford, is hitting .265 on the year with four home runs and 12 RBI and also has picked up a pair of saves in six innings of work with seven strikeouts.
Sophomore Cameron Jones is leading Georgia State to a nice season and is a weekly Olerud Award winner as well. The first baseman/left-handed pitcher is hitting .361 in 24 games with three home runs, 17 RBI and an .505 on-base percentage. On the mound, he has made seven appearances and has a 2.53 ERA with five saves in 10.2 innings, walking just two and striking out 16. Hitters are hitting just .179 off him.
The watch list also includes several veterans who were considered for the Olerud Award in 2021. Clemson sophomore Caden Grice, also a weekly Olerud Award winner, is off to a great start this season, hitting .229 with four home runs and 17 RBI, and on the mound is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and five strikeouts in three innings of work.
Coppin State sophomore outfielder/left-hander Jordan Hamberg is building on his freshman campaign from 2021. On the mound, he is 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 33 innings of work while also hitting .339 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 19 games.
“We are extremely excited about this year’s group of athletes and can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out for these guys,” Watson said.
For more information on the Olerud Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.