On Thursday, it was announced that the Colorado Rockies 2nd round pick this year has won a big honor.
The Colorado Rockies 2nd round pick in this year’s draft held last week, Aaron Schunk, won a big honor on Thursday.
He was awarded as the 2019 recipient for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award that is awarded to collegiate baseball players. To qualify, the player has to have pitched at least 20 innings or have six saves and play in 75 percent of his team’s games.
Schunk, 21, was in his junior year with the Georgia Bulldogs and is originally from Atlanta and was drafted by the Rockies as the draft’s 62nd overall pick. This season for the Bulldogs, Schunk had .339 batting average along with 15 home runs and 58 RBI. He had an OPS of .974 and he also struck out only 29 times in 230 at-bats (56 games).
On the mound, he was the Bulldog’s closer as he racked up a dozen saves in 17 appearances on the season, with an ERA of 2.49. He allowed less than 3 walks per nine innings and his opponent batting average was only .190.
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The award is named in honor of John Olerud, who was a two-way player for Washington State in college. Olerud ended up giving up pitching as he was a first baseman for five different teams in parts of 17 seasons from 1989 through 2005. In that span, he was a 2-time All Star, a 2-time World Series Champion with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, a 3-time Gold Glove winner, and a winner of a batting title in 1993, when he hit .363 on his way to coming in third in the AL MVP voting.
The award was given in 2010 and previous winners of the award include Astros infielder A.J. Reed, Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales, and Rays top-prospect Brendan McKay, who won the award in three consecutive years before being drafted by the Rays.
Schunk recently spoke to the media, including Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry, on Tuesday and he said that the Rockies would only use him as a pitcher “if they needed me [to]” but he said that “the plan is just to hit…”
He also said that he was “extremely excited” to be drafted by the Rockies as, with him being a third baseman, he’ll be able to learn from and work with Nolan Arenado.
"“[In] spring training, I’ll get to learn from one of the best ever to [play third base],” said Schunk. “He’s a guy that I’ve always modeled my game after. He’s a guy that goes out there and grinds every day and gets everything that he works for…[so] anything that I can learn from him and pick his brain [on], I’ll be happy to do.”"
Schunk already signed with the Rockies for a full slot value of $1.1 million earlier in the week, as the deal was first reported by Jim Callis of MLB.com on Twitter.
Schunk also said that he will report to Short-Season A Boise in the coming days and soon get his professional start in the Northwest League.