C Spire Ferriss: Quality all around
One tweeter says: “Bobby Wahl, undefeated for year, obvious choice for Ferriss Trophy.”
Another chimes in: “Not a State fan, but Hunter Renfroe should win in a landslide.”
Those are just a sampling. No matter who wins the trophy named for Boo Ferriss next Monday, there will be disappointed fans. Such is the nature of these awards.
But let’s look at the big picture here. We’ve got five finalists for the award that goes annually to Mississippi’s most outstanding college baseball player. All five are still in the running for national player of the year, either the Golden Spikes Award or the Tino Martinez Award that goes to the best player in NCAA Division II.
In other words, there are no losers in this group.
The five finalists — Delta State pitcher Josh Branstetter, Southern Miss pitcher Andrew Pierce, Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe, Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner and Ole Miss pitcher Bobby Wahl — have all put together amazing seasons. All are winners.
This speaks to the quality of Mississippi college baseball. This is why we went from three to five finalists for the C Spire Ferriss Trophy.
All five could be winners in another year. Branstetter’s numbers are off the charts and he is the ace of a team that has been ranked No. 1 most of the season. Here’s the stat that tells you all you need to know about Pierce: USM is 10-3 when he pitches, 16-20 when he doesn’t. That’s like Ferriss was in his rookie year when he won 21 games for the seventh place Red Sox.
Renfroe, the slugging SEC home run leader, has numbers that remind us of what college baseball was like before they scaled down the bats. Turner can hit and is splendid defensively behind the plate. Wahl has been just about as good as a pitcher can be this season.
These finalists were chosen by a panel of the college head coaches and Major League scouts who cover Mississippi. All those scouts and coaches keep talking about the guys who are not finalists. In another year, several other players might have been not only finalists but winners.
Mississippi State shortstop Adam Frazier is a fielding whiz and a clutch hitter. State closer Jonathan Holder has been close to untouchable. His breaking pitch breaks batters’ backs. Ole Miss closer Brett Huber is the school’s all-time leader in saves. I could go on.
The point is, on Twitter and elsewhere, you can make a case for all these guys. In college baseball, we have much to brag about in Mississippi.