Slick fielders, big hitters highlight 2023 Brooks Wallace Award semifinalists
LUBBOCK, Texas – One of the most demanding positions on the baseball field often demands the presence of a team’s most athletic player. A shortstop has to cover a lot of ground in the field, and many times is one of the team’s offensive generators.
The 25 players highlighting the 2023 Brooks Wallace Award semifinalist list exemplify what top-notch shortstops are supposed to be – confident with the bat and sure-handed in the field. The College Baseball Foundation released its top 25 shortstops for this season on the award’s semifinalist list.
“It's crunch time in college baseball as teams head to their respective conference tournaments and look ahead to the playoffs,” said Wallace Award co-chair Larry Wallace. “The cream of the crop rises, and it is no different with this field of shortstops in this year's semifinalists list. More importantly, we look for leaders as well as big character guys to represent our Brooks Wallace Award each year and expect to find that young man in the weeks to come.”
The award honors the nation's top shortstop and will be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. It is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, a slick-fielding shortstop who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia at the age of 27.
In terms of offense, few shortstops are having a better year than Maryland junior Matt Shaw, who is hitting .365 and leads the list of semifinalists with 20 home runs to go with 55 RBIs and a .969 fielding percentage. Three other players have at least 13 home runs – Oregon senior Drew Cowley, Maine redshirt junior Jake Rainess and Northern Kentucky grad student Noah Fisher.
Grand Canyon junior Jacob Wilson, one of four players on the 2023 semifinalist list who were semifinalists for the award in 2022, leads the group with a .427 batting average, one of only two to eclipse the .400 mark. Virginia sophomore Griff O’Ferrall, also a 2022 semifinalist, is hitting .411.
Delaware redshirt senior JJ Freeman leads all semifinalists with 64 RBIs, while Rutgers sophomore Josh Kuroda-Grauer tops the group with a .994 fielding percentage. He is joined by three players fielding at .980 or better – Auburn junior Cole Foster (.983), Vanderbilt sophomore Jonathan Vastine (.981) and Fairfield grad student Noah Lucier.
“These shortstops are the best in the nation,” said Wallace Award co-chair Tom Quigley. “Some are staying really hot. The cream is rising to the top all the way to the end. With our semifinalists listed there are some 15 conferences still represented. It is going to be difficult to pick an award winner this season.”
For more information on the Wallace Award or the Night of Champions event, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
2023 Brooks Wallace Award semifinalists
Name, Class, School, Conference
- Andy Blake, Senior, Columbia, Ivy League
- Drew Cowley, Senior, Oregon, Pac-12
- Kevin Dubrule, Senior, Army, Patriot
- Noah Fisher, Grad, Northern Kentucky, Horizon
- Cole Foster, Junior, Auburn, SEC
- JJ Freeman, RS-Senior, Delaware, Colonial
- Phillip Glasser, Grad, Indiana, Big Ten
- Jacob Gonzalez, Junior, Ole Miss, SEC
- Nick Goodwin, Junior, Kansas State, Big 12
- Hunter Haas, Junior, Texas A&M, SEC
- Dakota Harris, Junior, Oklahoma, Big 12
- Jim Jarvis, Senior, Alabama, SEC
- Josh Kuroda-Grauer, Sophomore , Rutgers, Big Ten
- Noah Lucier, Grad, Fairfield, Metro Atlantic
- Nik McClaughry, Senior, Arizona, Pac-12
- Alex Mooney, Sophomore, Duke, ACC
- Griff O'Ferrall, Sophomore, Virginia, ACC
- Dominic Pitelli, Junior, Miami, ACC
- Jake Rainess, RS-Junior, Maine, American East
- Josh Rivera, Junior, Florida, SEC
- Matt Shaw, Junior, Maryland, Big Ten
- Tevin Tucker, RS-Senior, West Virginia, Big 12
- Jonathan Vastine, Sophomore, Vanderbilt, SEC
- Jacob Wilson, Junior, Grand Canyon, WAC
- Braylen Wimmer, Senior, South Carolina, SEC