Sluggers, flamethrowers highlight 2023 John Olerud Award semifinalist list
LUBBOCK, Texas – Some familiar names and a lot of new ones highlight the semifinalist list for the 2023 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
The College Baseball Foundation announced its 12 semifinalists for the 2023 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, and one thing they all have in common is they all know how to make the baseball travel really quickly, whether it’s off the bat or off the mound. The 12 names that made the list are all putting together outstanding seasons in leading their respective clubs.
“The players leading the chase for the 2023 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award are putting up some incredible numbers, both at the plate and on the mound,” said Olerud Award co-chairman George Watson. “Some of the names you know, as they have garnered the spotlight at times throughout the season. But others are having fantastic years and making their own case to be included as one of the nation’s best players. With just a few weeks left in the season, this will be an interesting race to follow to see who can keep up the pace to the end.”
The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this year.
Of the 12 semifinalists, eight have been named the Olerud Award Player of the Week during the regular season.
Wichita State sophomore infielder/left-hander Payton Tolle has been consistent throughout the season. With two weeks left in the regular season, Tolle has compiled an 9-2 record and 3.78 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 78.2 innings, and at the plate is hitting .321 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs. He is one of five semifinalists with double-digit homers.
Despite missing time with an injury, Oklahoma State junior right-hander/shortstop Nolan McLean leads the group of semifinalists with six saves while hitting .284 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs. Wright State junior left-hander/outfielder Jay Luikart and Michigan freshman right-hander/infielder Mitch Voit are close behind with five saves.
Florida sophomore left-hander/first baseman Jac Caglianone leads all semifinalists in home runs (27) while hitting .351 and compiling a 5-2 record, 4.47 ERA and 63 pitching strikeouts. He is the lone SEC player to make the semifinalist list while the ACC and Big 12 each have two.
McLean, Clemson junior first baseman/left-hander Caden Grice and Coppin State junior outfielder/left-hander Jordan Hamberg were on the 2022 Olerud Award Semifinalist list.
The five finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award will be announced on May 30.
For more information on the Olerud Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.
2023 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award semifinalists
Name, Class, School, Conference
- Carson Benge, Freshman, Oklahoma State, Big 12
- Jac Caglianone, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
- Jackson Finley, Sophomore, Georgia Tech, ACC
- TJ Fondtain, Junior, San Diego State, Mountain West
- Caden Grice, Junior, Clemson, ACC
- Jordan Hamberg, Junior, Coppin State, Northeast
- Ryan Ignoffo, Senior, Eastern Illinois, Ohio Valley
- Jay Luikart, Junior, Wright State, Horizon
- Nolan McLean, Junior, Oklahoma State, Big 12
- Austin Smith, Sophomore, San Diego, West Coast
- Payton Tolle, Sophomore, Wichita State, American
- Mitch Voit, Freshman, Michigan, Big Ten