Yesterday, the SEC coaches named UK's A.J. Reed SEC Player of the Year. I know this happened yesterday, but as I am on vacation at the moment, I hope you will forgive the late commentary on this event. The Herald-Leader had a story on this earlier. Consider:
But now "20 to 25 pounds" lighter, Reed leads the NCAA with 23 home runs going into this weekend's regional tournament at Louisville. He also ranks first among SEC players in RBI (70) and slugging, on-base percentage, total bases and walks. He's "only" third in batting average at .351.
If nominated, Reed might have been named SEC Pitcher of the Year, too. He leads the SEC in victories (11), is sixth in ERA (2.10) and ninth in strikeouts (68).
Reed has had one of the most fantastic seasons I have ever heard of from a college baseball player. He should be a shoo-in for national player of the year, but despite his heroics, Kentucky's season has just been okay. If he were on a team that was a national seed in the NCAA Tournament, I am pretty sure he would be a near-certain NPOY. As it is, if UK gets to the super-regional, I'd really like his chances. If UK falls in the regional, I'd say they go down a bit.
Having said that, his stats are impossible to ignore, maybe just too good for him to be denied. We'll have to wait and see. Certainly, Kentucky's deep run in the SEC Tournament really helped his chances, and if the Wildcats can just continue with the hot bats and improved pitching, we may yet see a College World Series appearance by this team. On top of softball's insurgent run to the WCWS, that might really make this the Year of the Cat.