Brady Singer Joins Distinguished Company

Image credit: Photo by Danny Parker

Florida ace Brady Singer became the seventh pitcher to win BA’s College Player of the Year award this century—and the 11th in 38 seasons—for his dominant season with the Gators, the No. 1 team in the nation heading into regionals play.

Singer led the Southeastern Conference in ERA (2.25) and opponent average (.186) and tied Arkansas’ Blaine Knight for the lead with 10 wins, while striking out 92 and walking 18 through 88 innings.

To place Singer’s performance in context, here we will take a closer look at the past six pitchers to win the BA College POY. All were first-round draft picks who went on to have distinguished big league careers, but keep in mind that Singer has not yet added to his totals via postseason play.

Mark Prior, 2001
Southern California
15-1, 1.69 ERA in 20 G, 18 starts
202 SO, 18 BB, 100 H in 138.2 IP

Just four pitchers won POY honors in the first 20 years of its existence: Louisiana State’s Ben McDonald (1989), Clemson’s Kris Benson (1996), Stanford’s Jeff Austin (1998) and Baylor’s Jason Jennings (1999). Prior became the fifth for his outstanding 2001 campaign in which he led the nation in strikeouts and became the 14th pitcher in Division I history to top 200. His 1.69 ERA ranked fifth that season. As BA wrote at the time, long-time college baseball observers proclaimed Prior the greatest pitcher in college history.

Jered Weaver, 2004
Long Beach State
15-1, 1.63 ERA in 19 starts
213 SO, 21 BB, 91 H in 144 IP

Weaver’s bid to pitch the Dirtbags into the 2004 College World Series came up one win short, but that didn’t stop people from comparing his season with Mark Prior’s 2001 campaign as one of the best ever by a college pitcher. The scrappy, hard-working Weaver led the nation in wins and strikeouts and ranked third in ERA.

Andrew Miller, 2006
North Carolina
13-2, 2.48 ERA in 20 G, 18 starts
133 SO, 40 BB, 100 H in 123 IP

The first lefthander ever to win POY honors, Miller didn’t dominate the leaderboards like the other winners, ranking 10th in strikeouts and 48th in ERA. Yet he did pitch UNC to the College World Series for the first time since 1989, helping dispel the “underachievers” tag that saddled the Tar Heels. That along with a wicked mid-90s fastball pushed Miller to the forefront of a deep college pitching class.

David Price, 2007
11-1, 2.63 ERA in 18 G, 17 starts
194 SO, 31 BB, 95 H in 133 IP

Price joined Ben McDonald and Kris Benson as the only POY pitchers to be drafted No. 1 overall—Stephen Strasburg would later join them—after he led the nation in strikeouts in 2007. College baseball observers knew they were watching a special talent in Price, whose competitiveness, work ethic and selflessness marked him as a future major league ace.

Stephen Strasburg, 2009
San Diego State
13-1, 1.32 ERA in 15 starts
195 SO, 19 BB, 65 H in 109 IP

Strasburg led the nation in ERA and strikeouts in a 2009 campaign that put him on equal footing with Mark Prior and Jered Weaver for the title of best season ever by a college pitcher. While Strasburg faced weaker competition in the Mountain West Conference than either Prior or Weaver, his ridiculously good arsenal, shocking pitchability and spotless performance set him apart.

Trevor Bauer, 2011
13-2, 1.25 ERA in 16 starts
203 SO, 36 BB, 73 H in 136.2 IP

Bauer led the nation in strikeouts and ranked fourth in ERA, doing so with a combination of whiffs and a sub-2.00 ERA that put him in the company of Mark Prior, Jered Weaver and Stephen Strasburg in terms of accomplishment. What set Bauer apart was his durability. He held his mid-90s velocity while averaging 8.5 innings per start, and at one point he completed nine consecutive starts.

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