Drew Pomeranz, former Ole Miss hurler and recipient of award-winning paternal verbal abuse, has already been named the SEC Pitcher of the Year and winner of the Ferriss Award for the best baseball player in Mississippi (an especially surprising distinction since Coach Bianco, reportedly, nominated David Phillips for the award). Now, he has been named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the best college baseball player in America.
We spent five minutes with bar study materials open in our lap as we did internet research about this meaningless personal distinction, created decades ago for the purpose of one day highlighting for Ole Miss fans the deep sorrow of wasting the era of, maybe, the best baseball player in school history. Below the jump are short bios about the Jason White impersonators that make up the competition for "da Pom dot com."
Wait, this kid played very well at a Junior College? Why is going to the Majors and not to Ole Miss?
Harper hit 31 homers this season and brought home 98 runs. His Coyotes won the conference championship and advanced to the Junior College World Series, held, thank goodness, in Grand Junction, Colorado, meaning Harper hasn't made it to Omaha, either. He would be only the second JUCO player to win the award.
Then there is Chris Duffy of Central Florida, who owns the C-USA single season batting average record with a .447. I'm sure he played his heart out for the ... bulls(?), but college baseball produces prolific hitters every year. Nothing seems to stand out about Duffy.
Plus, if we were looking for the surprise player from the up-and-coming Florida school, we're probably looking at Chris Sale of Florida Gulf Coast. Collegiate Baseball has already named him their player of the year, and he was selected 13th overall by the White Sox. He appeared in 17 games, won 11 of them, and had a 2.01 ERA. But, if I'm right, Florida Gulf Coast just moved into D-1 a few years ago. And their conference schedule (Mercer, East Tennessee, Belmont, oh my) reads like the leading candidates for the Rebels' 2011 football non-con schedule.
Giving the Sunshine State a cool 3 of 5 in the finalists group is Miami's Yasmani Grandal. He sounds like your winner. ACC Player of the Year as a catcher at a top-notch baseball school, which is still playing through an outstanding season. He hit .412 and 14 homers and was selected 12th overall by the Reds.
The official criterion for the Golden Spikes Award is the best "amateur player" in the country. That leads me to believe that Harper, the much-hyped number one pick, is, like Stephen Strasburg before him, the front-runner for this award.