The recipient of the 2012 Tino Martinez Award is senior first baseman Nathan Minnich from Shepherd University (W.Va.). The award is presented to the most outstanding player in DII college baseball. The annual honor is named after the former University of Tampa Spartan, United States Olympian, first round draft pick and MLB All-Star, Tino Martinez.
Minnich, who was a Tino Martinez Award finalist last season and finished eighth, was a runaway winner this season, receiving the first place vote on over half of the ballots cast and also captured the Internet fan vote.
The 6’3”, 240-pound slugger from Waynesboro, PA anticipates hearing his name called in this year’s Major League Baseball after posting incredible stats reserved for video games. He finished the season batting .487 (74 for 152) with 21 home runs, 12 doubles and 72 RBIs, while racking up a .980 slugging percentage. He led the country in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, walks per game and RBIs. He also ranked second in batting average and home runs and finished ranking third in runs scored per game.
After Minnich the voting was tight between the remaining five candidates. Southern New Hampshire’s Tim Flight edged Concordia St. Paul’s Bryan Lippincott for second place. Lippincott in turn finished in third by a slight margin over Western Oregon’s Grady Wood and St. Mary’s (TX) Rene Solis who tied for fourth place. Flight and Lippincott were able to secure the second and third places in the final vote standings thanks to a substantial push from the Internet based fan vote. Sunshine State Player of the Year Anthony Boza of Lynn finished sixth in the voting.
Initial nominations for the award were made by baseball sports information contacts and media members. A panel of media, coaches and sports information officers was polled to finalize the candidates and determine the winner. A fan Internet vote also contributed to the final vote.
Chase Larsson of the Cameron Aggies was the recipient of the award last season after leading DII in home runs (29), RBI (84), slugging percentage (1.000) and total bases (190). Mount Olive’s Carter Capps, the 2011 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s National Pitcher of the Year, finished in a close second.
Erskine’s Bryan Fogle of won the first edition of the award in 2010 after batting .430 and leading DII with 28 home runs, 103 RBI (the second most in NCAA history) and 203 total bases. The Flying Fleet star was drafted by Tampa Bay following the season. Runner-up Hayden Simpson of Southern Arkansas was a first round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs.