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College Player Of The Year Watch (4/23/19)

With the college baseball season past the halfway point of the season, it is time for an update to the Player of the Year race.

Since the last update two weeks ago, four names on this list have changed. Tulane third baseman Kody Hoese, West Virginia righthander Alek Manoah, Mississippi State lefthander Ethan Small and Navy righthander Noah Song have moved onto the list, while East Carolina first baseman Spencer Brickhouse, Auburn righthander Tanner Burns, Louisville lefthander Reid Detmers and Minnesota righthander/outfielder Max Meyer have fallen off.

There’s still plenty of season left before we have to make a decision on the 2019 Baseball America Player of the Year. We’ll have another update to the watch list in two weeks.

Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State: Bishop has come back to earth a bit at the plate and has been passed for the national home run lead. But he’s still hitting .380/.508/.840 with 17 home runs and 11 stolen bases and is expected to be a top-10 draft pick.

J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt: Bleday has continued to mash at the heart of the Vanderbilt lineup and a recent power surge has pushed him into a tie with Hoese for the national lead with 20 home runs. Bleday is hitting .361/.462/.791.

Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia: Hancock has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the 2020 draft class with his impressive season at the front of the Bulldogs’ rotation. He’s 7-2, 1.04 with 77 strikeouts and 15 walks in 69 innings.

Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane: Hoese is making his case as the breakout player of the year. After a home run binge of seven homers in seven games early this month, he moved to the top of the national home run leaderboard and now has 20 to share the lead with Bleday. He’s hitting .415/.500/.872 and has played his way up draft boards.

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Texas Christian: Lodolo has emerged as the best college pitcher in this year’s draft class and has been excellent at the front of the Horned Frogs’ rotation. He is 5-3, 2.20 with 77 strikeouts and 12 walks in 65.1 innings.

Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia: The big righthander has pitched his way up draft boards with an impressive tear over the last few weeks. He’s helped push the Mountaineers into contention in the Big 12 and is 6-2, 1.81 with 95 strikeouts and 15 walks in 69.2 innings.

Ethan Small, LHP, Mississippi State: Small started the season on fire and has continued to impress as Mississippi State’s ace. He ranks second in the nation with 103 strikeouts in 60 innings and is 4-1, 2.10.

Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State: The top prospect in the 2019 draft has continued to put together a spectacular season for Oregon State. He is hitting .415/.576/.797 with 13 home runs, 51 walks and 26 strikeouts while also providing strong defense behind the plate.

Noah Song, RHP, Navy: Song has been outstanding in his senior season for Navy. He leads the nation in strikeouts with 118 in 66 innings and is 8-0, 1.36. The level of competition he’s faced isn’t as tough as the other players on this list (Navy’s strength of schedule is 279th), but his dominance is undeniable.

Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California: The 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner is continuing to hum along at a strong pace. He’s hitting .364/.525/.694 with 11 home runs, 37 walks and 26 strikeouts.

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