First off, let me just say one of the many wonderful things to come out of the best second half in college baseball this season is that I'm still going to get to write about these guys for a couple more weeks---if not more. Aside from the regular awards, and because I'm one of those precious millennials who thinks everyone deserves some of sort of gold star, the awards are plentiful.
Cy Young(s): Preston Morrison and Brandon Finnegan, Ice and Fire
Had to split it and I think we can all agree on that. Earning the Cy Young on this team is basically winning the MVP and I can't think of two better guys to share that than these two. Like all of the Big Three, Finnegan finished the season 8-3. However, it was Finny's 103 strikeouts and 11.68 K/9 that made him really stand out. As for the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Morrison went 8-3 with a jaw-dropping 1.17 ERA and 70 strikeouts.
More on these two later this week.
Offensive MVP: Boomer White
When you're the team leader in hits, runs, and average, it's hard to give it to anyone else. Even when we were down and out, White was always the backbone of this offense.
Newcomer of the Year: Tyler Alexander
Well this doesn't quite make up for the actual snub, but Alexander the Great's future is very, very bright. The freshman from Southlake went 8-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 2014.
Purple Glove: Keaton Jones
Some say Jones doesn't have the range to play at the next level---well they can just take their complaints here. Jones is one of the best defensive players I've ever seen play at the college level.
"Did someone forget to pay the utilities bill? Because it's 'lights out'" Award: Riley Ferrell
Honestly, Ferrell should probably join Finnegan and Morrison as the Cy Young. Ferrell was third in the Big 12 in saves with 11, but then again, TCU doesn't present many "save opportunities". The stats are insane; .83 ERA, 11 saves, and 48 strikeouts. Despite being a closer, Ferrell finished just outside the Top Ten in strikeouts in the conference. Which leads to me to the most impressive stat out of anyone---a K/9 of 14.4.
The "Sixth Men": Jordan Kipper and Trey Teakell
Baseball doesn't have a "sixth man" per say, but these two are pretty damn close. With Kipper as the mid-week starter, going 7-2, and Teakell serving mostly as the brilliant set-up man, these two didn't get nearly the credit they deserve.
Speed Kills Award: Cody Jones
Jones lead the Big 12 in steals with 23 and being such a huge threat on the bases, allowed Jones to score 42 runs...second only to Boomer White for most on the team and eighth most in the conference.
Down With OBP? Yeah, You Know Me: Dylan Fitzgerald
After minimal playing time in 2013, the arrival of Dylan Fitzgerald came out of left field, or I guess in this case...right field. Either way, Fitz surpassed any expectation and became one of the leaders of this ball club.
Captain Clutch: Garrett Crain
With the game on the line, Crain is the guy you want at the plate. Only a few points below Boomer White, Crain finished the season with a .336 average. Crain's gone relatively unnoticed by some of the Big 12, because he's just under the minimum plate appearances to be considered a league leader.
You Don't Get Enough Credit: Kyle Bacak
No great team is without a great catcher and Bacak didn't get enough credit this year.
The T-1000 Award: Jerrick Suiter
Playing through injury, yet somehow finding a way to rehabilitate himself almost instantly, Suiter's toughness and grit in 2014 shouldn't go unnoticed. Suiter stepped up when TCU needed him and served as a great DH.
Double Down Award: Kevin Cron, Agent 00
Doubling like the zeros on the back of his jersey, Cron collected 16 doubles in 2014.
Comeback Player of the Year: Derek Odell
Odell's 2013 wasn't bad by any means. But after a killer Regional and Super Regional showing in 2012, the expectations for Odell were very high last season. But in 2014, he lived up to them.
Regular Season Final Note:
There isn't a whole lot to say that hasn't been said over the course of this season. But, I will say time and time again that what's going to keep TCU rolling through this thing is the arsenal of arms Kirk Saarloos has developed. The hitting coming around is the icing on the cake.
All in all, it was a very fun regular season and like Bruce handed John "Robin" Blake the keys to the cave at the end of The Dark Knight Rises---I couldn't be more thankful to be your new Monday Morning Manager.
Now, to the postseason.