Big beard, big bat, big glove.
It’s been a big-time season for Baylor’s scruffy, mullet-sporting third baseman Davis Wendzel, who was rewarded on Wednesday by being named Big 12 Co-Player of the Year along with Texas Tech shortstop Josh Jung.
Wendzel owns a .385 batting average with 36 runs scored, eight home runs, 39 RBIs, a .647 slugging percentage and 11 stolen bases on the year. He also played a sterling third base, committing only one error in 40 games. In Big 12 play, he hit .404, which topped the league.
Wendzel has missed Baylor’s last eight games with an oblique injury, but is scheduled to return for the Bears’ action at the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City.
He becomes Baylor’s fifth winner of the Player of the Year honor and the first since catcher Josh Ludy in 2012. Other Bears who have taken the honor include Jason Jennings (1998, ’99), Chad Hawkins (2000), Kelly Shoppach (2001) and Zach Dillon (2006).
Baylor led the Big 12 with six first-team selections on the all-conference team. Including Wendzel, the other unanimous picks were catcher Shea Langeliers and closer Kyle Hill, while centerfielder Richard Cunningham, designated hitter Andy Thomas and shortstop Nick Loftin also made the first team.
Langeliers is hitting .311 with six home runs and has thrown out 61.1 percent of attempted base stealers. Hill picked up his first career All-Big 12 honor after recording a 6-0 record with seven saves and a 0.00 ERA over 21 appearances.
Cunningham batted .324 with five home runs and 29 RBIs, and made his first first-team appearance after making the second team last year. Thomas hit .342 with 25 RBIs and a conference-leading 19 doubles. Loftin owns a .332 average with 16 doubles, six home runs and 39 RBIs.
Senior outfielder Cole Haring was Baylor’s lone second-team All-Big 12 selection, and five players gained honorable mention status — pitchers Daniel Caruso, Jimmy Winston, Paul Dickens and Ryan Leckich and first baseman Chase Wehsener.
Texas Tech’s Jung ranks in the top five in the Big 12 in seven different statistical categories, including doubles (20), RBIs (49) and walks (46). Other award winners included West Virginia’s Alek Manoah as Pitcher of the Year, West Virginia’s Randy Mazey as Coach of the Year, TCU’s Jake Guenther as Newcomer of the Year, and Kansas State pitcher Jordan Wicks as Freshman of the Year.
The Tribune-Herald’s 22nd annual All-Big 12 team will publish on Sunday.