LUBBOCK, Texas – While home runs and ERAs are up throughout college baseball this season, there’s still an impressive crop of arms getting the job done on the mound.
Most of the teams who have one – or more – of those dominant arms are the ones leading the pack heading into the postseason. And this year’s finalists for the 2023 Pitcher of the Year Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation, reflect the trust awarded them by their coaches all season to lead by example.
The five finalists for the 2023 Pitcher of the Year Award are sophomore Tyson Neighbors from Kansas State and juniors Grant Rogers from McNeese State, Simon Miller from UT-San Antonio, Rhett Lowder from Wake Forest and Paul Skenes from LSU.
“It is always difficult to separate the best of the best when we get to the end of the season,” Pitcher of the Year co-chair Brian Melakian said. “This year we are fortunate to have the chance to watch some very talented pitchers chase historic seasons.”
Here’s a closer look at the five finalists:
- Rhett Lowder, Jr., Wake Forest: The only one of the five semifinalists who was on this list a year ago, Lowder has been the unquestioned ace of the Demon Deacons’ staff in 2023. He set the tone each weekend for Wake Forest, going 13-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 15 starts and a WHIP of 0.97. He struck out 108 batters in 95.2 innings.
- Simon Miller, Jr., UT-San Antonio: One of the top closers in the country for one of the top mid-majors, Miller was dominant at the end of games for the Roadrunners. On the season, he racked up 11 saves to go with eight victories while compiling a 1.83 ERA and a WHIP of 116, striking out 77 batters in the process.
- Tyson Neighbors, Soph., Kansas State: When the Wildcats needed to nail down a victory at the end of games this season, Neighbors was a near guarantee. One of the top closers in the country in 2023, Neighbors racked up 10 saves and five wins for Kansas State, compiling a 2.01 ERA and 0.76 WHIP while striking out 78.
- Grant Rogers, Jr., McNeese State: A transfer from Panola Junior College in Texas, Rogers had a huge impact on the season for the Cowboys. The 2023 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, Rogers finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and 2.00 ERA. He compiled a WHIP of 0.95 to go with 83 strikeouts.
- Paul Skenes, Jr., LSU: The 2022 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award winner for his work on the mound and at the plate, Skenes transferred to LSU and became one of the most dominant starters this season. He has 10 wins and 1.76 ERA to go with a 0.75 WHIP and a whopping 164 strikeouts.
For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.