Logan Vick is the perfect example of why it’s not a good idea to pigeonhole a player.
Just based on pure athleticism, the jackrabbit-quick Brooks Pinckard would seem to be the natural choice as Baylor’s leadoff hitter. Yet Vick has started in that role since day one of his freshman year, and he’s proven to be the ideal guy for one primary reason:
He knows his way to first base.
Blessed with a discerning batting eye and a cool approach that belies his youth, Vick leads the Big 12 in walks (50) and ranks sixth in on-base percentage (.476). How consistent was he in finding his way to first? He reached base safely in all but two of Baylor’s 52 games, including every one of the Bears’ 36 home games.
“I think he’s pretty unusual,” Baylor coach Steve Smith said. “You think leadoff guy, and you think Pinckard. You think base stealer, bunter, take a lot of pitches, that kind of guy. The thing that makes (Vick) unusual is that he can hit it out of the park. ... Logan is very patient, very relaxed, but at the same time very confident.”
Vick’s consistent, almost quiet brilliance makes him the Tribune-Herald ’s pick as Freshman of the Year on the annual All-Big 12 baseball team.
Vick was a shortstop and pitcher in high school at Kerrville Tivy, but moved to left field for the first time in his life upon arriving at Baylor. Immediately, he recognized how different things were.
“It’s lonely out there,” he said, laughing. “I feel like everyone’s a mile away from me. The fans are in the stands way out there, and my teammates are 50 yards away from me. But, no, the toughest adjustment is probably reading the ball off the bat. The angles are a lot different than the infield and the depth perception took awhile to get used to. But after about a month, I felt like I’d been playing outfield all my life.”
Though Vick hasn’t committed an error all season, his most valuable contributions have unfolded in the batter’s box. Despite his affinity for free passes, Vick is aggressive when he sees a pitch to hit, and sports a .330 average and eight home runs to prove it.
“I want to say it’s my competitiveness,” said Vick, who was also an all-state kicker in football in high school. “I’ve always wanted to go out and do my best. In the cages, taking extra hacks, I’m trying to work on my swing all the time.”
In the future, Smith envisions Vick eventually moving more toward the middle of the batting order because of his power. The coach could see him returning to an infield position at some point, too.
For now, he’s exactly what the Bears need him to be.
“This year has been everything I expected and more,” Vick said. “It’s been a blast.”
Vick bested a bumper crop of freshmen for the award, including his own teammate, first baseman Max Muncy (.305, 11 HRs, 46 RBIs). Other first-year phenoms included Texas Tech’s Barrett Barnes, Oklahoma’s Max White and Texas A&M’s Michael Wacha.
Coach of the Year: Augie Garrido, Texas
In the Big 12 this season, there was Texas, and then there was everybody else.
The Longhorns dominated the league like nobody before, winning a record 24 conference games and claiming their sixth Big 12 title by a whopping nine games. Naturally, veteran coach Augie Garrido is the Trib’s choice as Coach of the Year.
Winning titles is nothing new for Garrido’s Horns. This marks the fourth year in the last five that Texas has emerged atop the league. But it was the way Texas won this year that was so remarkable. The Horns swept six of their nine Big 12 series and didn’t lose a single game in the month of April.
Besides the astute direction of Garrido, college baseball’s all-time winningest coach, Texas won thanks to arguably the nation’s finest pitching staff. And even on a staff full of sparkling ERAs and potential first-round picks, Cole Green separated himself.
Green, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, didn’t drop a game all season, finishing the year with a perfect 10-0 record to go with a 2.08 ERA. Though he doesn’t throw as hard as some of his own teammates, including sophomore Taylor Jungmann, Green’s pinpoint control proved dominant.
“He’s just tough,” Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson said of Green. “He has command of three pitches, and he throws them all for strikes. He keeps things simple, and it works.”
Green was also durable, notching four complete games. He closed out the season with two shutouts in his last three starts.
Player of the Year: Nick Martini, Kansas St.
Martini time was refreshing for Kansas State this season.
That’s because whenever outfielder Nick Martini entered the batter’s box, good things tended to happen.
Martini, the Trib’s Big 12 Player of the Year, led the league with a .420 batting average, the seventh-best mark in conference history and the best since Oklahoma’s Greg Dobbs hit .428 in 2001. The sophomore also led the Big 12 in on-base percentage (.512) and finished seventh in stolen bases (19).
What made Martini such a tough out was a highly disciplined approach at the plate. He didn’t go fishing at pitches out of the strike zone.
“He’s one of the most mature kids I’ve seen for his age in 23 years of coaching,” K-State coach Brad Hill said. “His knowledge of the strike zone is tremendous.”
Martini put together a 26-game hitting streak early in the season, and he struck out just 18 times in 204 at-bats.
Newcomer of the Year: John Stilson, Texas A&M
In junior college, John Stilson was next to unbeatable on the mound. Things didn’t change much in Division I ball, either.
Stilson, a sophomore right-hander for Texas A&M, won the Trib’s Newcomer of the Year honor after piling up a 7-1 record, a 0.98 ERA and nine saves in his first year on campus after transferring from Texarkana College.
Serving as the Aggies’ shutdown reliever, Stilson held opponents to a .172 batting average — best by any Big 12 pitcher — and struck out 95 hitters in 64.1 innings.
Stilson is the fourth straight Aggie to take the top newcomer award, joining Brandon Hicks (2007), Jose Duran (2008) and Joe Patterson (2009).
2010 TRIBUNE-HERALD ALL-BIG 12 BASEBALL TEAM
|C||Gregg Glime||Baylor||Sr||.263||7||39||Thrown out 50% of runners|
|1B||Aaron Senne||Missouri||Sr||.410||16||56||60 runs|
|2B||Davis Duren||Oklahoma State||Jr||.383||6||55||29 steals|
|SS||Carter Jurica||Kansas State||Jr||.368||11||65||18 steals|
|3B||Garrett Buechele||Oklahoma||So||.387||13||59||.660 slugging %|
|OF||Adam Bailey||Nebraska||Sr||.368||18||69||154 total bases|
|OF||Kevin Keyes||Texas||Jr||.307||13||52||12 steals|
|OF||Nick Martini||Kansas State||So||.420||2||51||19 steals|
|DH||Joe Patterson||Texas A&M||Sr||.364||7||39||15 doubles|
|UT||Brodie Green||Texas A&M||Sr||.376||10||44||86 hits|
|SP||Cole Green||Texas||Jr||10-0||95.0||2.08||4 complete games|
|SP||Taylor Jungmann||Texas||So||6-2||98.0||2.20||110 strikeouts|
|SP||Barret Loux||Texas A&M||Jr||9-2||89.0||2.53||119 strikeouts|
|RP||John Stilson||Texas A&M||So||7-1||64.1||0.98||9 saves|
|RP||Chance Ruffin||Texas||Jr||6-1||55.2||0.81||13 saves|
|Player of the Year: Nick Martini, Kansas State|
|Pitcher of the Year: Cole Green, Texas|
|Freshman of the Year: Logan Vick, Baylor|
|Newcomer of the Year: John Stilson, Texas A&M|
|Coach of the Year: Augie Garrido, Texas|
|C||Cameron Rupp||Texas||Jr||.309||9||51||.996 fielding %|
|1B||Barrett Barnes||Texas Tech||Fr||.338||12||50||68 runs|
|2B||Raynor Campbell||Baylor||Sr||.335||6||37||11 steals|
|SS||Caleb Bushyhead||Oklahoma||So||.336||5||32||47 runs|
|3B||Tony Thompson||Kansas||Jr||.324||6||37||.359 in Big 12 play|
|OF||Brian Heere||Kansas||Jr||.403||6||51||89 hits|
|OF||Max White||Oklahoma||Fr||.321||14||39||.660 slugging %|
|OF||Logan Vick||Baylor||Fr||.335||8||20||50 walks|
|DH||Scott LeJeune||Texas Tech||So||.330||4||57||27 doubles|
|UT||Brooks Pinckard||Baylor||So||.323||2||25||1.63 ERA, 10 saves|
|SP||Brandon Workman||Texas||Jr||11-1||88.1||3.67||3 complete games|
|SP||Logan Verrett||Baylor||So||5-3||81.2||2.98||89 strikeouts|
|SP||Michael Wacha||Texas A&M||Fr||7-2||93.1||2.41||87 strikeouts|
|RP||James Allen||Kansas State||So||5-0||41.0||2.20||7 saves|
|RP||Ryan Duke||Oklahoma||Jr||1-1||30.0||3.00||11 saves|
* Selected and compiled by Brice Cherry