Jake Sanford named semifinalist for National Player of the Year Award

Junior, first baseman Jake Sanford hits the ball during WKU’s game against UAB on March 16. Sanford was just named C-USA Hitter of the Week.

Drake Kizer

Junior right fielder Jake Sanford has been named a semifinalist for the 2019 Dick Howser Trophy by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the organization announced Thursday.

Sanford is one of only 26 candidates for “college baseball’s most prestigious individual award,” according to a tweet from WKU baseball.

The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native’s slash line is eye-popping — Sanford is hitting .410/.496/.846 so far this season. He has also smacked 21 homers, 80 hits and 64 RBIs, all while striking out only 43 times on the year.


The award, given yearly to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting. The semifinalists hail from nine different conferences and 20 different schools, according to a press release.

Sanford is Conference USA’s only representative. He is also one of just five outfielders nominated for the honor, which the NCBWA has presented to the national player of the year since 1987.

The trophy itself is named for the former Florida State All-American shortstop and major league player and manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987. Criteria for consideration of the Dick Howser Trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage.

Should Sanford ultimately claim the award, he would be the third player from a Kentucky school to do so since in just the last several years, joining 2014 winner A.J. Reed (Kentucky) and 2017 winner Brendan McKay (Louisville) as Commonwealth recipients.

Finalists will be announced on June 6. The Dick Howser Trophy will be presented to the winner live on MLB Network on June 14 at TD Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska — home of the 2019 College World Series.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.