The SEC released its All-conference teams and players of the year yesterday afternoon. Alabama second baseman, Kyle Overstreet was named to the SEC's all-defensive unit. Overstreet's numbers were excellent, as he and White teamed up to make the Alabama interior defense an excellent unit: Overstreet put out 65, assisted on 71 other POs, turned 18 double plays, was perfect in all four stealing attempts against, and only committed two errors, with a fielding percentage of .986.
However, Tide RF Casey Hughston and IF Chandler Avant received no love from the Conference for their defensive play, even though both sported a perfect fielding rate of 1.000. Meanwhile, All-Alabama-everything, Mikey White, was also snubbed by the league. White's case is somewhat understandable at least, as two of the best four players in the SEC (Alan Bregman, LSU and Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt) play Mikey's position at shortstop.
But, easily the worst omission was Chandler Avant's absence from the SEC's All-Freshman team. Avant had a perfect fielding percentage, put out 57 runners, had 34 assists, and was responsible for turning 8 double plays. Offensively, Avant led the Tide in plate appearances, drew 17 walks, stole 10 bases, brought in 21 RBIs, and finished with a .275 average. As the 19 year-old grows into his frame and is accustomed to league play, his power numbers should improve.
The star of the awards, however, were Arkansas centerfielder Andrew Benintendi and Vandy hurler, Carson Fulmer. Benintendi's offensive output is more at-home in a video game, to be honest, as he is true national POY candidate.
Benintendi leads the SEC in batting average both overall (.415) and in conference games only (.443). He currently ranks sixth nationally in batting average, and is the conference leader and ranks fourth nationally in home runs this season (17). Benintendi is the national leader in slugging percentage with a .771 clip and is in the top-five in the nation in on-base percentage at .511. He was the only SEC player to hit better than .400 in conference play. Benintendi has reached safely in 26 consecutive games, including 41 of his last 59 plate appearances. He has hit safely in 24 of the last 26 games, including a career-long 10 consecutive games. He did not strikeout over his final 46 plate appearances of the regular season. Benintendi is the first Arkansas player to be named SEC Player of the Year.
The Tide got a run in the first, but didn't get a hit after that. Fulmer threw a complete-game two-hitter with 14 strikeouts as the Commodores took a 2-1 win over the Crimson Tide on Thursday at the Hoover Met.
Fulmer was that dominant all season, having a performance that only comes along about once a decade:
He [Fulmer] wrapped up the SEC pitching triple crown on Thursday night to lead the league in wins (11), ERA (1.51) and strikeouts (132). Fulmer has moved into a tie with Sonny Gray for the third-most strikeouts in a single season by a Commodore with 132 punch outs this season. He is the first pitcher to win the SEC triple crown since Tennessee's Luke Hochevar in 2005. He finishes the regular season as the only pitcher in the league with an ERA under 2.00 and the only pitcher with more than 100 strikeouts.
Congratulates to Kyle, and while the SEC won't recognize their effort, we at RBR know how good of a season Casey Baseball, Mikey White, and Chandler Avant also had. Roll Tide, guys.