NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt right fielder JJ Bleday and third baseman Austin Martin have been named among 26 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced Thursday.
The Dick Howser Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate baseball player. The NCBWA votes for the recipient based on nominees’ performance, character, leadership and courage. Finalists will be unveiled June 7 and the winner will be announced June 16 at the College World Series.
Martin is looking to become the first Commodore since Warner Jones (2004) to bat above .400 in a season. The sophomore, who is hitting at a .432 clip, leads the Commodores with 28 multi-hit games and paces the SEC in average, runs (64), on-base percentage (.515) and triples (4).
Bleday is tied for first nationally in home runs (23) and became Vanderbilt’s all-time single season leader on April 21. The Panama City, Florida, native has reached base in 79 of his last 80 games including 47 consecutive between March 4, 2018 and March 17, 2019. The junior leads the SEC in homers, slugging percentage (.741), RBIs (61) and total bases (149).
Seven of the semifinalists hail from the SEC. Left-hander David Price was the last Commodore to take home the award, doing so in 2007. The consensus All-American led the SEC in five different pitching categories while vaulting Vandy to a school-record 54 victories.
The accolade comes one day after the pair was named semifinalists for USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award. Martin and Bleday look to lift Vanderbilt to its first SEC championship since 2013 this weekend. The No. 2 Commodores open a three-game series at Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. CT Thursday.
Kyle McCann (Georgia Tech)
Adley Rutschman (Oregon State)
Patrick McColl (Harvard)
Bobby Seymour (Wake Forest)
Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State)
Andrew Vaughn (California)
Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State)
Casey Martin (Arkansas)
Joey Ortiz (New Mexico State)
Kody Hoese (Tulane)
Josh Jung (Texas Tech)
Austin Martin (Vanderbilt)
Davis Wendzel (Baylor)
Hunter Bishop (Arizona State)
JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt)
Chris Lanzilli (Wake Forest)
Jake Mangum (Mississippi State)
Jake Sanford (Western Kentucky)
Reid Detmers (Louisville)
Ryan Garcia (UCLA)
Emerson Hancock (Georgia)
Alek Manoah (West Virginia)
Jack Ralston (UCLA)
Ethan Small (Mississippi State)
Noah Song (Navy)
Zack Thompson (Kentucky)