Freshman outfielder Seth Beer was named the 30th recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy, presented annually to the national player-of-the-year. The Dick Howser Trophy committee and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association will present the award on Saturday at a national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park prior to the opening game of the 70th-annual College World Series.Beer, the first freshman to win the award, had a standout season at Clemson under head coach Monte Lee in what should have been his senior year at Lambert High School. After enrolling at Clemson in January, he posted remarkable numbers that earned him ACC Player-of-the-Year honors, also a first by a freshman.
In 2016, Beer batted .369 with 18 homers, 13 doubles, 70 RBIs, 57 runs, 62 walks, 15 hit-by-pitches, a .535 on-base percentage and six outfield assists in 62 games. He also had a .700 slugging percentage, the best mark by a Tiger since senior shortstop Khalil Greene had an .877 slugging percentage when he won the Dick Howser Trophy in 2002.
Beer, who will play for the USA Collegiate National Team this summer, became the third Tiger to win the Dick Howser Trophy, tying Texas for most players who won the national award. Junior righthander Kris Benson received the Dick Howser Trophy in 1996.
"Seth Beer truly deserves this national honor,” said Dick Howser Trophy chair David Feaster of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Area Chamber of Commerce. “His status as national player-of-the-year as a freshman is a history-making moment. In just a short time, he has exhibited the Dick Howser traits of excellent performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage.”
Beer led the Tigers to 44 wins, a top-eight national seed in the NCAA tournament and Clemson's first ACC championship in 10 years. A big reason for the team success was Beer's ability to make others around him better, as he reached base at one of the best rates in school history. He totaled 77 combined walks and hit-by-pitches, as he reached base via a hit or walk in each of the last 60 games he had a plate appearance. The only game he did not was his first game of 2016. He also had a 26-game hitting streak, tied for fourth longest in school history.
The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball's most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities which were exemplified by Howser's life.
Prior to Beer’s honor in 2016, only three four-year college sophomores had won the award, Brooks Kieschnick (Texas) in 1992, Anthony Rendon (Rice) in 2010 and Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas) in 2015. Only a handful of freshmen have been finalists for the award, while Kieschnick is the only two-time winner.