As noted on Wednesday, Pitt standout Charles Leblanc is up for the Brooks Wallace Award, given annually to the top shortstop in college baseball.
Until 2008, it was given to the top player overall. But since then, it's been given to only the best shortstop and was named after Brooks Wallace, a Texas Tech shortstop that died of cancer in 1985. Some players that won it previously when it was open to everyone include some notable stars in Major League Baseball, such as Alex Gordon, David Price, and Buster Posey. Pirates fans will also recognize the name of Brad Lincoln, who won it back in 2006.
The others competing for this year's award include Oklahoma shortstop Sheldon Neuse and Louisville shortstop Devin Hairston. Leblanc was taken in the fourth round of last week's MLB Draft while Neuse went in the second. Hairston was not yet eligible. Neuse was also a First Team All-American while Leblanc made the second team.
Here's a summary of each player's offensive production from this past year:
Overall, his offensive numbers stack up well to his competition. He leads Neuse and Harrison in only batting average, but does so by a large margin (a full .40 and .48 percentage points, respectively), and also finishes second in most of the other categories, including hits, RBI, triples, runs, walks, slugging percentage, and stolen bases.
Defensively, there's no doubt that Leblanc trails his competition. His .939 fielding percentage was the lowest of the group and his 13 errors were the most. There, Neuse (.980 / five errors) bests Hairston (.960 / 12 errors) as well.
When you put the two together, Neuse seems like the leader in the clubhouse here. And while it likely doesn't count for consideration for the award (I couldn't find confirmation of that on the award page website), it should be noted that Neuse is a heck of a pitcher, too. As a reliever, he was 4-1 with a team-high 1.40 ERA and five saves.
Still, there's no doubt that Leblanc had a remarkable season and was one of the top shortstops in the country. And on July 2nd when the award is given, we'll find out if he was deemed the best.