May 2, 2013 1:14:14 PM
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe has been named to the 60-player midseason watch list for the 2013 Golden Spikes Award.
USA Baseball announced Thursday the Bulldogs power-hitting prospect leads the Southeastern Conference with a .403 batting average, 14 home runs and a .799 slugging percentage. Almost half (29) of his 60 hits have gone for extra bases, and he's driven in a team-best 48 runs, also among the leaders in the SEC.
"We're talking about a young man that knows who he is, knows what his weaknesses are and is finally comfortable every single time he goes to the plate," MSU coach John Cohen said. "When all those things line up, you start to see the kinds of things he's doing in the best league in America, the Southeastern Conference."
Renfroe, who is a high 2013 MLB Draft prospect, hit .364 with the Bethesda (Md.) Big Train and set Cal Ripken College Baseball League marks with 19 home runs and 57 RBI, was named by Perfect Game scouting as the top prospect in the Cal Ripken League. The Bulldogs junior has been able to replicate those numbers in his college season by having a better understanding of how pitchers were getting him out his first two seasons.
"It's about learning patience because the tools were always there and people would question when I'd say Hunter Renfroe is maybe the most talented athlete I've ever coached at Mississippi State," Cohen said. "He's just one of those kids that if he goes 0 for 3 with three punch outs, he'll still be in the lineup the next day. You can't treat every kid like that but with him, it's the right thing to do."
Additions to the midseason Golden Spikes watch list may be made in the weeks ahead before it is pared down to 30 semifinalists May 28 and three finalists on June 4. The 2013 Golden Spikes Award recipient, similar to college baseball's version of the Heisman Trophy, will be announced during a live telecast on MLB Network July 19.
"To hit a ball hard I need fastballs with advantage counts and I just haven't been getting those lately," Renfroe said. "When teams pitch to me, I usually hit the ball pretty hard."
In 1985 Mississippi State first baseman Will Clark became the first MSU player and the second SEC athlete to receive the award presented to college baseball's player of the year. Clark spoke to the Bulldogs team this week in preparation for their the three-game set against the University of Alabama starting Friday night with a 6:04 p.m. start time on ESPNU.
"Alabama is a good club," Cohen said. "It's gonna be, if I'm not mistaken, the seventh time out of eight weekends that we're playing a that's team coming off winning a series"
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
4. SCT's 'Almost, Maine': it's love ... but not quite ENTERTAINMENT