FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas pitcher Kevin Kopps was named National Player of the Year Thursday by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Kopps, a senior reliever who has a best 0.81 ERA in the NCAA in 661/3 innings this season, factored in 20 decisions with 10 wins and 10 saves. He struck out 105 and walked 15.
Kopps has allowed six runs in 28 appearances and, in one streak, has recorded 28 straight scoreless innings. The teams beat .161 against him. He ranks third nationally with a WHIP of 0.78 and seventh with 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was not surprised by Kopps’ selection of National Player of the Year.
“What more can you say? He has the numbers to prove it,” Van Horn said. “He’s so important to our team. I think they took it all into consideration. He was the SEC pitcher of the year. I think they took that into consideration.
“And you know, I just think chatting with Luke Pavlovich Jr. at Collegiate Baseball, he felt like it was obvious, and he said it wasn’t even such a hard decision. really happy for Kevin and the team. “
Kopps was voted SEC Pitcher of the Year by league coaches and in May became the first player to win the consecutive National Pitcher of the Month award from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Kopps is also on the watch list for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award which recognizes the nation’s top relief pitcher.
Collegiate Baseball, which was founded in 1957 and is the nation’s oldest baseball publication, is the first to announce its Player of the Year award. The Dick Howser Trophy will be presented later this month at the College World Series, and the Golden Spikes Award winner will be announced in July.
Hailing from Sugar Land, Texas, Kopps is the second Arkansas player to be named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi earned this honor in 2015 when he also won the Golden Spikes Award and the Howser Trophy.
Kopps is one of 42 semi-finalists for this year’s Howser Trophy, along with Arkansas teammates Christian Franklin and Brady Slavens. The Golden Spikes Award will announce its semi-finalists next week.
Tennessee coach Tony Vitello, who helped recruit Kopps from Arkansas in 2014, alluded to Kopps as the Golden Spikes winner after the Razorbacks 7-2 win over the Volunteers in the tournament championship game. SEC Sunday. His Arkansas coaches and teammates have also spoken out in favor of his victory.
“He’s the nation’s No. 1 MVP,” Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs said on Wednesday. “I guess that makes you a guy you consider for that price. I will always be biased towards him for every available price.
“I think he’s got as good a deal as anyone. Take him off our squad and where are we at? I don’t even like to think about it.”
Asked about Kopps’ candidacy for National Player of the Year earlier this week, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said the number of wins Kopps reckoned made him “extremely important” to him. success of the Razorbacks (46-10) this year.
“If you take those factors into account, I think Kevin has as much of a chance as anyone,” Van Horn said.