The SEC has announced its end of the season college baseball awards on Monday, with the Tennessee Volunteers taking home quite a bit of hardware. However, after much speculation throughout the year, there was one notable award that a Tennessee player did not win.
On Monday afternoon, the SEC named Auburn first baseman Sonny DiChiara and LSU outfielder Dylan Crews as the co-conference Player of the Year. To the surprise of some, Tennessee third baseman Trey Lipscomb did not win.
So, the question remains, was Lipscomb robbed of the SEC Player of the Year award? Well, despite an acknowledgment of Lipscomb’s unbelievable season with No. 1 Tennessee, it’s hard to outright scream yes without hesitation. Stick with me for a moment.
When looking over the final numbers and statistics, there’s no question that all three players had standout seasons. That is easily evidenced by the fact that all three players are All-SEC First Team selections. But after breaking down those numbers and statistics, it’s difficult to pick just one of the three, which is likely why the conference didn’t.
Here’s how the regular season numbers break down for Sonny DiChiara, Dylan Crews, and Trey Lipscomb. Before even recording the numbers, though, 11 categories first were selected to best represent an overall player.
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As shown in the figure above, DiChiara came away with the most categories with four outright wins and one tie. Meanwhile, Crews has three wins and one tie, with Lipscomb taking two wins and two ties.
There’s a lot to break down here. From an overall perspective, it isn’t hard to see why the SEC gave the award to both DiChiara and Crews as opposed to just one of them. Both players went back and forth as the leader of the top offensive categories, and both were near perfect from a fielding perspective as well.
It’s also important to note that all three players are on teams that are seeded in the Top 5 of the SEC Tournament, meaning that all three players have had an impact on meaningful wins for their team.
Trey Lipscomb’s numbers aren’t far off from either Crews or DiChiara, and in the case of RBIs, the Volunteer player has a sizable lead on both. The RBI statistic loudly speaks to a player’s talent at the plate in high-pressure situations. However, it also speaks to a team’s offensive capabilities in having baserunners for the batter to hit around the bags in the first place.
Personally, for a player to get robbed of an end-of-season award, there has to be unquestionable evidence of why that player was the best player in the league. There’s no doubt that Trey Lipscomb has some of the best numbers in the league and is more than deserving of his All-SEC First Team selection. Had either DiChiara or Crews had an off-year, it would be near-impossible to leave Lipscomb off of the co-winner selection because some of his numbers do cause a double-take.
But the reality is that there are a number of quality all-around players in the SEC this year. There’s no denying that Lipscomb is one of the absolute top names on that list, too. However… was he robbed of the Player of the Year award? Again, it’s hard to outright scream yes without hesitation. In a lot of ways, it’s because it’s hard to knock off the individual work of either DiChiara or Crews from the award.
Frankly, it’s hard to just pick one player in particular. That’s at least the opinion of this writer. It’s easy to tell why the SEC had such a difficult time choosing. Trey Lipscomb looks to have come up just short in a year that had some very elite talent at the top of the league. Was he deserving of extreme consideration, though? Was he deserving of the award with the numbers that were put up? Very much so.
Trey Lipscomb is arguably the best hitter on the best baseball team this year. Shouldn’t that automatically win him the award? The easy thought there is yes. But saying that the award wasn’t a “robbery” isn’t saying that Lipscomb didn’t deserve it. Instead, it is acknowledging quality individual talent across the league.
Some folks will scream from the rooftops that Lipscomb was robbed – and that argument is heard loud and clear. Heck, it’s hard to disagree, especially when it’s both DiChiara and Crews beating out Lipscomb. It’s hard to make that argument that Lipscomb didn’t, at the least, deserve a spot on the co-award winning list.
To me, the answer lies somewhere in the middle of both arguments. Did Lipscomb deserve the award? Based on the season-long numbers and consistency leading the No. 1 team, I would say yes. Was it flat-out highway robbery that Lipscomb wasn’t selected? I have more hesitation on that one. All three players had terrific individual seasons.
But that is all just the opinion of one writer. After looking at the statistics, what is your opinion? Did the SEC get the award right? Sound off in the comment section below!