2022 D1Baseball Player Of The Year: Texas’ Ivan MelendezAwards
There are good years. Then, there’s the year that Texas first baseman Ivan Melendez put together.
At one point last summer, the Longhorns weren’t sure if they were going to get Melendez for another season. He was only a 16th-round draft pick to the Miami Marlins, but the Marlins were aggressive and wanted him to sign at the deadline. Melendez, though, felt he had some unfinished business. He wanted more for himself in Austin, and he wanted to help guide the Longhorns back to the College World Series.
Boy, did he have a 2022 campaign to remember. Melendez, who shattered records in his final season and earned the right to have his number retired on the wall at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, is the 2022 D1Baseball.com National Player of the Year.
“I can remember Ivan showing up and hanging out in our dugout, a little insecure and just hoping he could fit in and be a contributor in this program,” David Pierce said about Melendez here in Omaha. “Like I’ve said before, he’s just humbled.
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“And then thinking when I saw him, he’s just an okay player,” he added. “I never saw this coming. Then, you started seeing signs of it once we got into the first spring. And his power is just different. You have guys who have 5 o’clock power when the game starts at 6:30. He’s not a 5 o’clock kind of guy. He’s a gamer.
“He has game power, and he has a knack of staying through the baseball as well as any hitter I’ve ever seen.”
Melendez’s improvements from 2021 to 2022 are remarkable when you consider that he also had a productive year at the plate last season. He hit 13 homers and knocked in 51 runs during that campaign. But this year? Melendez hit .387 with a .508 OBP, 1.371 OPS and smacked 32 home runs with 94 RBIs. What also stands out about Melendez’s season was his walk-to-strikeout ratio at the plate. Last season, he recorded more than 60 strikeouts and walked 34 times. This season, he struck out 51 times but also walked on 52 occasions.
What Melendez accomplished at the plate this season will be remembered for a long time. He helped guide his team back to Omaha, and he did it by having one of the best individual seasons in college baseball history.
He’s our Player of the Year.