LUBBOCK, Texas -- The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award watch list has been narrowed to the top 18 players as the college baseball season hits the home stretch. Among the players on the watch list is Anthony Herrera, a 2015 Mohawk Valley DiamondDawg.
Those players surviving the first cut represent power conferences such as the Pac-12 Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12 Conference as well as small schools like Austin Peay, St. Mary's (Calif.), Norfolk State and Central Connecticut State.
"Paring down to 18 of the top two-way players in the nation from our initial watch list proved to be a daunting task given the tremendous amount of talent across the country," Olerud Award co-chair George Watson said. "I can only imagine how tough it's going to be trying to get down to a list of semifinalists, finalists and picking a winner in the coming weeks."
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 who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented as part of the Hall of Fame's Night of Champions celebration July 2 in Lubbock.
One of the leading candidates for the award is junior Matt Fiedler, who has put his Minnesota Golden Gopher teammates on his back and carried them into the race for the Big Ten title. Fiedler is hitting .404 with six home runs and 33 RBI, while on the mound he has compiled a 7-2 record with a 3.97 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings.
He has plenty of company. Sophomore left-hander Adam Haseley has a surging Virginia squad in the hunt for an ACC crown. The standout ace for the defending national champions is 7-2 with a 1.35 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 60 innings, while hitting .293 with five home runs and 23 RBI.
Last year's Olerud Award winner is doing nothing to hurt his case to repeat. Sophomore left-hander Brendan McKay is 9-2 on the mound with a 2.22 ERA, striking out 91 in 77 innings while hitting .329 with three home runs and 28 RBI.
"We have a tremendous collection of talent for this year's award, all of whom are having outstanding seasons," Olerud award co-chair Chris Curbo said. "Each one of these players truly exemplifies what it means to be a two-way player in the true spirit of the Olerud Award."
To make the list of semifinalists, candidates must have at least 20 innings pitched or played in the field in at least 75 percent of his team's games.
For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions, visitwww.collegebaseballhall.org.
2016 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Top 18
||Central Connecticut State
||St. Mary's (Calif.)