NJCAA releases 2014 ABCA/Rawlings NJCAA Players of the YearJune 5, 2014
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – In conjunction with the NJCAA and Rawlings, the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) announced the 2014 ABCA/Rawlings NJCAA Players of the Year Thursday.
In Division I, it was El Paso (Texas) sophomore infielder Eudor Garcia who walked away with Player of the Year accolades. Des Moines Area (Iowa) sophomore outfielder Roman Collins claimed DII honors, while the DIII award went to freshman pitcher Daniel Brown of Tyler (Texas).
NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Eudor Garcia – El Paso (3B / So.)
There were few players in NJCAA baseball during the 2014 season that enjoyed as successful a campaign as Eudor Garcia. The El Paso shortstop’s dominance at the plate led the Tejanos to their best year since 2008.
Batting .460 for the season – the second highest batting average in the nation – Garcia went 87-for-189 at the plate with a .512 on-base percentage. The sophomore also ranked second with a .873 slugging percentage. Garcia showcased his power with 14 home runs – fourth-most in the country – to go along with 18 double and three triples which ranked sixth in the land. He ranked 15th with 63 RBIs across the season while scoring a team-high 55 runs.
From his third base position, Garcia utilized his range and strong arm to accumulate 88 assists during the year. He also played a role in two double-plays and gave opponents few breaks with a .912 fielding percentage.
Garcia has racked up the honors this week as he was named an NJCAA first-team All-American on Tuesday and earned the Marucci Elite Hitter award Wednesday for boasting the highest batting average in the Southwest District.
Although he has signed a letter of intent to continue his college baseball career at Prairie View A&M next season, Garcia is also projected to be selected in this week’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Roman Collins – Des Moines Area (OF / So.)
With his phenomenal effort both in the field and at the plate, Roman Collins was a dominant force for Des Moines Area in 2014. Collins’ performance this season propelled the Bears to a 40-18 overall record and the Region 11 regular season championship.
The sophomore batted for a .435 average this year and ranked third in the nation with 91 hits, going 91-for-209 at the plate. Collins was a one of the top clutch hitters in the country as he led the DII ranks with 75 RBIs. Sporting the fifth highest slugging percentage in the nation at .756, Collins ranked sixth in home runs with 12 and fourth in doubles with 25. He added three triples to his extra-base hit total and finished the season with a .512 on-base percentage. On the base paths, Collins led Des Moines Area with 67 runs scored.
Defensively, Collins’ presence played a huge factor in the Bears holding their opponents to a .271 batting average. The outfielder tallied 88 putouts in 91 total chances and gave up just three errors for a .967 fielding percentage.
This is the second time this week that Collins has been recognized at the national level. On Tuesday, he received NJCAA first-team All-America honors.
Finishing up a tremendous sophomore campaign at Des Moines Area, Collins will look to maintain that level of success in the NCAA next season as he goes to Florida Atlantic.
Daniel Brown – Tyler (LHP / Fr.)
Anchoring Tyler’s run to their second NJCAA DIII Baseball national championship, Daniel Brown was a stud for the Apaches this season. Despite making seven of his 13 starts against DI opponents – and two more against DII top 10 program LSU Eunice –Brown was sensational on the mound in his first season of college baseball.
At 10-1, the freshman hurler finished with the best record in the country and was one of only three DIII pitchers to reach the 10-win mark. Brown overcame the Apaches’ tough schedule to compile a 1.76 ERA and baffled hitters with 87 strikeouts on the year – second most in the nation. The left-hander gave up just 36 hits in 71 and two-thirds innings of work in 2014. Against North Arkansas, Brown pitched a seven-inning no-hitter and recorded a season-high 14 strikeouts.
In the DIII World Series, Brown notched a second-round win over Northern Essex. He pitched five innings and recorded seven strikeouts in the 17-2 victory.
Receiving recognition for his exceptional play earlier this week, Brown was tabbed as an NJCAA first-team All-America selection Tuesday. It was also announced Thursday that he had earned the Spalding® NJCAA DIII Pitcher of the Year award.
After just one season at the two-year level, Brown is headed to the Southeastern Conference next season where he will take the mound for Mississippi State.
About the ABCA
The American Baseball Coaches Association is a nonprofit organization having more than 5,000 members, including baseball coaches from every state in the country and over 200 international members. The ABCA promotes camaraderie and rapport among all baseball coaches from the amateur to the professional levels. The organization also gives recognition to deserving players and coaches through several special awards and sponsorship programs. For more visit www.abca.org.
Photos courtesy of El Paso Athletics, Harper Athletics and TJC Athletics.