Parker French named Big 12 Freshman of the Year
May 22, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY – Starting pitcher Parker French was tabbed Big 12 Freshman of the Year and five Texas Longhorns garnered All-Big 12 honors, in voting conducted by the league's coaches, the conference announced on Tuesday.
Relief pitcher Corey Knebel and infielder Erich Weiss were named to the All-Big 12 First Team. Catcher Jacob Felts, relief pitcher Hoby Milner and outfielder Mark Payton were selected for the All-Big 12 Second Team. Infielder Jordan Etier, French and outfielder Jonathan Walsh were All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
French joins a long line of Longhorns to earn Big 12 Freshman of the Year status, including Weiss in 2011 and Chance Ruffin in 2008. Until 2006, the league honored Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Freshman Player of the Year. Justin Simmons (2001) and Huston Street (2002) garnered Freshman Pitcher of the Year accolades for the Longhorns while Omar Quintanilla (2001), J.D. Reininger (2002), Taylor Teagarden (2003) and Drew Stubbs (2004) all earned Freshman Player of the Year status.
The Dripping Springs native had his season cut short with a stress fracture in his elbow. He finished the year with a 6-2 record, two saves and a 2.84 ERA. He yielded 58 hits and 19 walks while fanning 30 over 66.2 innings. He led all conference freshmen in ERA.
French appeared in eight league games, including seven starts, registering a 4-1 record with one save and a 2.54 ERA. He allowed 31 hits and 11 walks while striking out 14 over 26.0 innings.
Knebel, who was also an All-Big 12 First Team selection as a freshman in 2011, ranks second in the league with nine saves, just one off the league lead despite being moved into a starting role with two weeks left in the regular season. He leads the Big 12 with a 1.56 ERA and owns a 4-4 record with 18 walks and 67 strikeouts in 69.1 inning of work.
In Big 12 action, Knebel finished 2-4 with three saves and a 2.03 ERA. He logged 14 walks and 40 strikeouts in 44.1 innings.
Weiss, who was also an All-Big 12 First Team selection as a freshman in 2011, ranks fifth in the league in batting with a .349 average. He also ranks fourth in the league with a .549 on-base percentage. He has started all 50 games at third base, logging 39 runs, 16 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 37 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
The Brenham native was the only player to hit over .400 in Big 12 action. He batted .410 with a league-high .474 on-base percentage and a .690 slugging percentage. He registered 22 runs, nine doubles, two triples, five home runs and 25 RBI in 24 games.
Felts has started all 50 games at catcher for the Longhorns. He is hitting .289 with 20 runs, eight doubles and 21 RBI. He has thrown out 20 of 53 would-be base stealers.
In league action, Felts batted .300 with 11 runs, five doubles and 11 RBI and he gunned down 12 of 31 runners attempting to steal.
Milner has appeared in 33 games on the season, including three starts. He owns a 7-4 record with three saves and a 2.69 ERA. He is holding opponents to a .218 batting average and has logged 16 walks and 66 strikeouts in 70.1 innings.
The southpaw leads the league with 19 Big 12 appearances, with no other player with more than 16 games pitched. In league play, Milner is 5-0 with one save and a 2.50 ERA. He has logged 10 walks and 33 strikeouts in 36.0 innings.
Payton ranks 10th in the league in batting with a .330 average and his .505 slugging percentage ranks ninth. He has 39 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 29 RBI and eight stolen bases on the season.
The Chicago native batted .343 in Big 12 play with 21 runs, eight doubles, one triple, three home runs, 16 RBI, five stolen bases and two outfield assists.
On the season, Etier owns a .244 batting average with 14 runs, eight doubles, three triples, one home run, 25 RBI and eight stolen bases.
In 24 league games, Etier hit .261 with nine runs, six doubles, two triples, one home run, 11 RBI and four stolen
Walsh has played in 48 games with 46 starts and leads the Longhorns with six home runs. He is hitting .291 with 33 runs, 11 doubles, two triples, 31 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
In 24 league games, Walsh hit .294 with 19 runs, six doubles, one triple, four home runs, 16 RBI and seven stolen bases.
Texas is the No. 3 seed at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. The Longhorns begin play at the tournament on Wednesday with a 7:30 p.m. game against the Missouri Tigers.