GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Sixty players have been named to the initial watch list for the 13th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher In NCAA Division I baseball, members of the association announced Monday.

Virginia Commonwealth's Sam Donko is the only returner among last year's five finalists for an award that was captured in 2016 by Miami (Fla.)'s Bryan Garcia. Donko led the nation in saves a season ago with 20, while compiling a 9-2 record to go with a 2.93 ERA and 54 strikeouts for the Rams. 

The Pac-12 Conference had the most representation with nine players finding their names on the watch list. That group is headlined by Oregon State's Max Engelbrekt, who went 3-3 with 11 saves for the Beavers a season ago. His 11 saves top the list of returning relievers in the conference.

RELATED: NCBWA preseason All-Americans

More than a third of the players on this list recorded double-digit saves a season ago and 10 were named to the NCBWA Preseason All-American team. Two of those preseason All-Americans posted sub-1.00 ERA's a season ago as Baylor's Troy Montemayor (0.78) and Louisiana's Dylan Moore (0.91) both notched 14 saves for their respective teams.

In total, 23 conferences are represented on this list with the Southeastern Conference following the Pac-12 with seven representatives. Conference USA and the Big West each had four players on this list.

Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia’s Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State’s Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas’ Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. The Longhorns’ Corey Knebel won in 2011, with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. UCLA’s David Berg was crowned the winner in 2013, Louisville’s Nick Burdi took home the 2014 honor and Berg became the award's first two-time winner in 2015. Miami's Garcia was honored as the 2016 recipient.

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All-America teams for all Divisions, a Division I freshman All-American team, Division I, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.

2017 NCBWA STOPPER OF THE YEAR PRESEASON WATCH LIST

Frankie Bartow

Miami (Fla.)

So.

Atlantic Coast

Robert Broom

Mercer

So.

Southern

Wyatt Burns

Samford

So.

Southern

Mike Cassala

Jacksonville

So.

Atlantic Sun

Michael Catlin

Longwood

Jr.

Big South

Yaya Chentouf

Pittsburgh

So.

Atlantic Coast

Zach Cook

Winthrop

R-Jr.

Big South

Sam Donko

VCU

Sr.

Atlantic 10

Dylan Drachler

Utah

Sr.

Pacific-12

Seth Elledge

Dallas Baptist

Jr.

Missouri Valley

Max Engelbrekt

Oregon State

Sr.

Pacific-12

Eder Erives

Arizona State

Sr.

Pacific-12

Michael Evans

James Madison

Sr.

Colonial Athletic

Durbin Feltman

TCU

So.

Big 12

David Gerber

Creighton

Sr.

Big East

Devin Gould

Longwood

Sr.

Big South

Kade Gramier

SE Louisiana

Jr.

Southland

Chase Haney

Florida State

So.

Atlantic Coast

Colton Hock

Stanford

Jr.

Pacific-12

Bobby Holmes

Coastal Carolina

Jr.

Sun Belt

Justin Hoyt

Jacksonville State

Jr.

Ohio Valley

Logan Hutchinson

Kennesaw State

Jr.

Atlantic Sun

Joe Ingle

East Carolina

Jr.

The American

Tyler Johnson

South Carolina

Jr.

Southeastern

Seth Kinker

Ohio State

Jr.

Big Ten

Jack Landwehr

Illinois State

Sr.

Missouri Valley

Carter Love

College of Charleston

Jr.

Colonial Athletic

Chad Luensmann

Nebraska

So.

Big Ten

Erik Martinez

California

Jr.

Pacific-12

Evan McMahan

Nevada

Sr.

Mountain West

Greg Minier

Washington

Sr.

Pacific-12

Troy Montemayor

Baylor

Jr.

Big 12

Dylan Moore

Louisiana

Jr.

Sun Belt

Samuel Myers

Cal State Northridge

Sr.

Big West

Kyle Nelson

UC Santa Barbara

Jr.

Big West

Hunter Newman

LSU

Sr.

Southeastern

Connor O’Neil

Cal State Northridge

Sr.

Big West

Glenn Otto

Rice

Jr.

Conference USA

Patrick Peterson

Dartmouth

Jr.

Ivy League

Cameron Ragsdale

Florida Atlantic

Sr.

Conference USA

Josh Reagan

South Carolina

Sr.

Southeastern

Rickey Ramirez

Fresno State

Jr.

Mountain West

Ryan Rigby

Mississippi State

Jr.

Southeastern

Chris Rivera

Long Beach State

So.

Big West

Jake Roehn

Ohio

Jr.

Mid-American

Mike Ruppenthal

Vanderbilt

Jr.

Southeastern

Nick Sandlin

Southern Miss

So.

Conference USA

Blake Smith

Mississippi State

Sr.

Southeastern

Jackson Sowell

WKU

Sr.

Conference USA

Erich Stahl

Kennesaw State

Sr.

Atlantic Sun

Tyler Starks

Stephen F. Austin

So.

Southland

Wil Stokes

Ole Miss

Jr.

Southeastern

Stephen Villines

Kansas

Sr.

Big 12

Ryan Walker

Washington State

Jr.

Pacific-12

Andrew Wantz

UNCG

Jr.

Southern

Brac Warren

Oregon

Jr.

Pacific-12

Brad Wegman

USC

Jr.

Pacific-12

Zach Wolf

Seattle

So.

Western Athletic

Brad Womacks

Oral Roberts

Sr.

Summit League

Bryan Young

Missouri State

Sr.

Missouri Valley