College | Story | 6/11/2019

Rutschman named College POY

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Adley Rutschman (Scobel Wiggins)

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2019 Perfect Game/Rawlings Player of the Year:

Adley Rutschman, Oregon State

Adley Rutschman typically leaves little doubt. There was no doubt he was the No. 1 overall prospect heading into this year’s MLB Draft, and there was little doubt he would be taken No. 1 overall. Those two things don’t always go hand-in-hand, but Rutschman’s talent was so obvious that his selection at the top of the draft was, you guessed it, a no-doubter.

There is also no doubt he was the best player in college baseball this season, as he slashed a ridiculous .411/.575/.751 on his way to being named the Perfect Game Player of the Year. It’s atypical to see a Power Five player hit over .400 in a season; Rutschman did it his final two years on campus in Corvallis.

The one knock on Rutschman heading into his junior year was whether he could hit for enough power, after leaving the yard only nine times as a sophomore. However, right on brand, Rutschman left little doubt this season with his 17 long balls. Here is what Perfect Game’s Vinnie Cervino wrote about Rutschman’s power potential before the start of his junior year:

“Offensively, Rutschman looks poised for an absolutely monster season as the adjustments he has made with his hips and his lower half are going to provide major dividends for him in the power department. He really fires his hips well through contact and creates immense carry off the barrel from the left side. He's a true switch hitter in nearly every sense, though the swings are a bit more consistent from the left side. Rutschman has confident takes in the box and rarely expands the strike zone and the numbers back up the plate discipline as he walked 13 times more than he struck out in 2018 and looks like he may expand that gap this season.”

The plate discipline that Cervino mentioned in his report was even more exaggerated this season for Rutschman, as he walked exactly twice as many times as he struck out – 76 walks versus 38 strikeouts.

The numbers he put up at the plate are enough to make him a top prospect at any position, obviously, but doing it while earning the reputation as one of the best catchers in the college ranks makes him one of the most impressive players in recent memory. As Cervino mentioned in his report, Rutschman is as quiet as anyone behind the plate, with soft hands, athleticism, and flexibility to boot. He also threw out 13 of 27 would-be baserunners this season.

2018 Perfect Game/Rawlings Pitcher of the Year:
Noah Song, Navy

The list of players that have starred for Navy baseball and then gone on to play in the Major Leagues is a short one. Really, it could be jotted down on a sticky note. There’s Mitch Harris, who pitched for the Cardinals in 2015, and there’s Nemo Gaines, who we all remember pitched for the Washington Senators in 1921.

Noah Song, a senior righthanded pitcher for Navy this season, could well be the third. If his success during his senior year is any indication, he’s on his way.

Song paced Navy, and the country, in a number of categories this season. He ended with an 11-1 record, compiling a 1.44 ERA over 94 innings and a college baseball-best 161 strikeouts. Those numbers will earn you Perfect Game Pitcher of the Year.

Song credited his pitching coach, Bobby Applegate, with a lot of the success he saw on the mound this year, due to an added emphasis on secondary pitches.

“This year specifically was really just a change in the way we approached the game,” Song said. “My pitching coach has been a huge part of my development. We weren’t coming into games and trying to just blow fastballs by people, it was really more about commanding my off-speed and throwing them in any count, to any hitter, in any situation.”

Gaudy numbers like the ones Song produced this past season, on top of staying on campus for his senior year, led to a number of school records for the Claremont, Calif. native, who was named a Preseason Third-Team All-American by Perfect Game before the season.

His 32 career wins is now more than anyone in Naval Academy history, as well as his 428 strikeouts. Song said the wins record meant something to him for the simple fact that it meant his team won all those games.

“It meant a lot in a sense of just helping our team win,” he said. “Obviously I only get to throw once a week, so I want to make the biggest impact I can as far as contributing to our success. My goal more than anything was just to not be the reason my team lost…I just tried to compete every single time for my team because they deserve the best out of me.”

2018 Perfect Game/Rawlings Freshman of the Year:
JT Ginn, Mississippi State

Right arms like the one JT Ginn possesses don’t normally get to the college game. Arms as electric as his typically get selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, and he was no different. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Ginn with the 30th pick of the 2018 Draft, but he elected to go to school in Starkville.

Advantage Bulldogs, and a massive headache for every other SEC school on Mississippi State’s schedule. Ginn’s eight wins, on top of a 3.36 ERA and ridiculous 103 strikeouts (compared to 18 walks, no less) earns him Perfect Game’s Freshman of the Year honor.

Ginn formally introduced himself to the college baseball world in an early season matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on March 3, who up to that point in the season had been averaging better than 10 runs per game. The true freshman for the Bulldogs went seven innings, allowed just two earned runs while striking out eight and earning the win.

Perfect Game’s Britt Smith watched Ginn pitch against Texas Tech and made observations after his performance.

"Showing functional strength and nice range of motion in his lower half, the freshman unleashed a barrage of powerful offerings to keep the Red Raiders off balance. From a high-three-quarters arm slot, Ginn repeats his delivery consistently, allowing him to tunnel a powerful fastball with both arm-side run, and at times, cutting action in the 91-95 mph range,” Smith said at the time in his scouting report. “Both directions of the pitch are thrown with downhill plane and intent, consistently landing at the bottom of the strike zone. Ginn’s use of his lower half allows him to create power and maintain direction to his target, which also lends him to being extremely consistent with his release point and command.”

Mississippi State gets him for two more years, as well. If Ginn progresses like everyone thinks he will, he very well could move up a section in this article into the Pitcher of the Year conversation in the next year or two. It's exciting for everyone involved that his electric arm got to college baseball. Now that Ginn is here with a year under his belt, we all get to watch him for two more years. 

2019 Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year:
Mike Martin, Florida State

The steadiness of what Mike Martin has done at Florida State is something for every college baseball fan to admire. Well, it would be admirable if in his 40 years at the helm in Tallahassee he won, say, 30 games every year and made it to, you know, five or six College World Series.

Really, college baseball fans should be absolutely awed by what Martin has done during his time at Florida State. Now close to the end of his 40th and final season, his team’s win over LSU to send them to Omaha was its 40th of the season, giving Martin at least 40 wins in each of his 40 seasons.

On top of that, in almost half the years he has coached the Seminoles, Martin has ended the season in Omaha; this will be his 17th appearance at the College World Series.

This season, however, was a bit different. His team scratched and clawed its way into the World Series, not the juggernaut that typically comes out of Tallahassee. But Martin’s best coaching job may well have been during this final postseason run, as the Seminoles swept their way through the Regionals (as a No. 3 seed in the Athens Regional) and Super Regional in Baton Rouge.

For that, Martin is the Perfect Game Coach of the Year.

Asked what getting to Omaha means to him in an interview on SiriusXM radio earlier this season, Martin didn’t want to talk about himself; he was all about his players.

“It’s a dream for every young man that is playing Division I baseball. As soon as they enter their institution, that’s their thought. We want to get to Omaha. That’s special. But when that plane lands, and those civic groups come out to greet you, it’s unlike any experience you’ll ever have. They treat you like kings. It’s memories that people cherish.”

In his last trip to Omaha, probably after his team is done playing, Martin will probably reflect on his historic career. He’s got work to do and games to win for now.

But in his interview with SiriusXM, Martin did answer when asked how he wants people to remember about him as a coach.

“He always put the players first. He always tried to do what was right. He always treated each player the same but different,” Martin said. “He was a guy that truly loved his university and wanted the best for his players. And still, to this day, when a young man comes back to this campus with his wife and his children, it’s one of the exciting moments in his life.”

Here is the full list of the 2019 Perfect Game Rawlings College Player and Pitcher of the Week:

Date Player of the Week Pitcher of the Week
Feb. 19 Tanner Allen, Mississippi State Jake Prizina, Seattle U
Feb. 26 Alec Burleson, East Carolina Tommy Henry, Michigan
March 5 Andrew Vaughn, California Tanner Burns, Auburn
March 12 Tucker Maxwell, Georgia Jake Kuchmaner, East Carolina
March 19 Chris Lanzilli, Wake Forest Jake Kuchmaner, East Carolina
March 26 Jimmy Titus, Bryant Drake Fellows, Vanderbilt
April 2 Jake Sanford, Western Kentucky Zack Thompson, Kentucky
April 9 Tristin English, Georgia Tech Adrian Mardueno, San Diego State
April 16 Michael Toglia, UCLA Alek Manoah, West Virginia
April 23 Logan Wyatt, Louisville Jake Agnos, East Carolina
April 30 Alex Binelas, Louisville Ryan Garcia, UCLA
May 7 Nick Quintana, Arizona Nick Snyder, West Virignia
May 14 Bryce Ball, Dallas Baptist Bear Bellomy, Wright State
May 20 Stephen Scott, Vanderbilt Garrett Stallings, Tennessee
May 27 Michael Busch, North Carolina Gabe Shepard, Southern Miss
June 5 Steven Williams, Auburn Bryce Jarvis, Duke
June 11 Dustin Skelton, Mississippi State Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt

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