Baseball Hands Out 2014 Team Awards
Blaise Salter named team MVP.
May 29, 2014
EAST LANSING - Head coach Jake Boss Jr. announced the winners of the 2014 Michigan State baseball annual team awards on Thursday, May 29. Junior Blaise Salter was named the winner of the John Kobs Most Valuable Player and Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year awards.
Salter was one of the conference's top hitters all season, finishing 2014 with a team-leading 50 RBIs, while his .317 batting average ranked second on the squad. The junior belted a Big Ten-leading 22 doubles, which also currently ranks ninth in the nation. The 22 doubles also tied Chris McCuiston (2002) for the highest single-season total in program history.
Salter had at least one hit in 44 of 57 games this past season, including a career-long 12-game hitting streak that came to an end March 9 vs. TCU. The day prior, Salter belted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the ninth inning of the first game of the series to lift MSU to a 2-1 victory over No. 21 TCU.
With 70 hits this season and 62 in 2013, Salter became the sixth player during head coach Jake Boss' tenure to record consecutive 60-plus hit seasons.
Junior Mick VanVossen was voted the winner of the Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher honor. The native of Ada was the Spartans' top starter in 2014, posting an 8-3 record and 2.82 ERA. His 99.0 innings of work are the sixth most by a Spartan pitcher in a single season and rank second in the Big Ten.
VanVossen ranked among the leaders in strikeouts in the Big Ten all season, finishing the year with a team-high 77 Ks. He limited opposing hitters to a .227 batting average - fourth best in the conference.
Nine of VanVossen's 15 starts were quality starts, going at least six innings and allowing three or fewer earned runs. He recorded 10 strikeouts in consecutive starts, throwing a complete-game shutout vs. Siena (March 5) and then holding Purdue (April 11) to three runs in seven innings of work the following week.
For the second straight year, catcher Joel Fisher was named the Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year. The four-year starter threw out a would-be 30 base stealers in 2014 to lead all Big Ten catchers. As a team, MSU led the Big Ten in runners caught stealing with 39 - eight more than any other team in the league.
Fisher finished the year in strong fashion, hitting .471 with six RBIs in the Big Ten Tournament. His 39 RBIs on the season ranked second on the team and his five home runs tied with Salter and Jimmy Pickens for the team lead.
In four years Fisher started 178 games - the second most by a player during Boss' six seasons as head coach.
Redshirt freshman starting pitcher Cam Vieaux was honored with the Steve Garvey Most Improved Player Award. After making his first eight-career appearances out of the bullpen, the walk-on made the transition to starter where he remained for the rest of the season. Vieaux won his second-career start at Minnesota, blanking the Gophers in his six innings work, while striking out five to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
His win over Minnesota started a string of three straight wins that concluded with his first-ever complete game vs. Purdue on April 12.
Vieaux finished the year with a 6-5 record and a 3.18 ERA; his .249 opponent batting average ranked 12th in the league.
Ryan Krill was honored with the Jerry Sutton Student Athlete Award. The first baseman carries a 3.37 grade-point average and is an economics major. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive season.
Krill started and appeared in 55 games, batting .234 with 16 doubles and three home runs.
Krill shared the Lyman Frimodig Captain's Award with fellow team captain Fisher.
2014 Michigan State Baseball Team Awards
John Kobs Most Valuable Player - Blaise Salter
Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher - Mick VanVossen
Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of Year - Joel Fisher
Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of Year - Blaise Salter
Steve Garvey Most Improved Player - Cam Vieaux
Jerry Sutton Student Athlete Award - Ryan Krill
Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award - Mike Mestdagh & Zak Wilkerson
Lyman Frimodig Captain's Award - Joel Fisher & Ryan Krill