Texas wins its fifth Dick Howser Trophy as Ivan Melendez is honored as college baseball's best
Ivan Melendez has cemented his status among the all-time greats in the Texas baseball program.
Melendez was named the winner of the Dick Howser Trophy on Friday morning. During an announcement that was broadcast on the MLB Network, the Texas first baseman was honored by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as the best player in college baseball.
Oregon State pitcher Cooper Hjerpe, Tennessee infielder Trey Lipscomb, Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada and Clemson infielder Max Wagner were the other finalists for the prestigious award.
"I compete against some of the most prestigious players all over the nation, some of the best prospects and just being able to compete with them every day and show off my tools, I'm just blessed to receive this award," Melendez told MLB Network after the announcement was made.
Texas coach David Pierce praised Melendez's "raw power" and made the distinction that he has "in-game power," as opposed to some players who show off their strength during batting practice.
"He's the best player in the country," UT assistant coach Troy Tulowitzki said. "He's a great hitter."
Melendez is the fourth Longhorn to win the Howser, following Taylor Jungmann in 2011, Brooks Kieschnick, who won it in back-to-back years in 1992 and 1993, and Scott Bryant, who won in 1989.
During a season that's still ongoing due to UT's participation in the College World Series, Melendez leads the nation with 32 home runs and 94 RBIs. His .396 batting average is the 16th-best mark. Only eight players have scored more runs than Melendez, who has crossed home plate 75 times.
"I'd say probably the craziest thing is that you see some people have a good week or two, but he's had a good, I don't know, five months," UT shortstop Trey Faltine said this week. "That's the crazy part of the season, he's just continuously doing it. It's almost like you go to the ballpark he does something even crazier than he did the game before."
In addition to being a school record, Melendez's 32 homers are tied with USC's Mark McGwire (1984), Fresno State's Lance Shebelut (1988) and New Mexico State's Billy Becher (2003) for the 13th-most in the history of Division I baseball. No player has hit more homers in the BBCOR bat era.
This season, Melendez has stacked his résumé with the Howser, the Bragan Slugger Award and Perfect Game/Rawlings and Collegiate Baseball's player of the year honors. He will find out on June 24 if he'll be UT's first-ever Golden Spikes Award winner. Of the last 10 Dick Howser Trophy recipients, seven have also taken home the Golden Spikes Award.