Arizona Wildcats Baseball: Brandon Dixon named semifinalist for Dick Howser Trophy

Brandon Dixon was named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy this week, an award given to the top collegiate baseball player in the country - Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Brandon Dixon received a huge honor before the Arizona State series by being named a semifinalist for the award won by the top collegiate baseball player in the country

The Dick Howser Trophy is given to the top collegiate baseball player in the country every year.

This year, Brandon Dixon is a semifinalist.

Dixon is the fourth Wildcat to be named to a midseason award watch list this year, after Johnny Field, Kevin Neman and Mathew Troupe were all honored with their own nominations.

Entering the weekend series in Tempe against Arizona State this weekend, Dixon leads the PAC-12 in batting average (.367), runs scored (52) and stolen bases (30).

He is also second in the conference in slugging percentage (.574), on-base percentage (.444) and total hits (69). In runs batted in, he comes in third with 43.

Those numbers put him on a pretty small list in Arizona school history. Dixon is just the fourth player in the history of the program to steal 30 bases, score 40 runs and drive in 40 runs. The other three to do it were Dave Stegman (1975), John Moses (1980), and Mike Senne (1986).

This season has been a huge improvement for Dixon over 2012. Last year, he split time at first base with Joseph Maggi, and only hit .245 with 14 RBI and 30 runs scored. During the offseason, he had laser eye surgery, worked on swinging down, and started making the transition to third base defensively. This year, he has started all 49 games at third base, and while defense has been a problem, he has been a force in the three-spot in the lineup.

By no means do I think he'll actually win the award. There's a guy playing at USD named Kris Bryant who has hit 30 home runs this year, and Mark Appel at Stanford of course are among the front-runners. But it's still pretty cool that Dixon has come so far in just one year.

Five PAC-12 players are on the semifinalist list, including ASU starting pitcher Ryan Kellogg, who the Cats will get the chance to face Saturday night at Packard Stadium at 6:30 PM.

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