Illinois’ Spillane Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year

Champagin, Ill. — Illinois junior Bren Spillane was named the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year, the publication announced Thursday. Spillane was the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year and the national leader in slugging percentage (.903), OPS (1.401), home runs per game (0.46) and weighted on-base average (.569).

Spillane is the first Illini baseball player to earn a national player of the year award and the first Big Ten player to earn Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year in its 35-year history. Recent winners include Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas, 2015), Kris Bryant (San Diego, 2013), Trevor Bauer (UCLA, 2011), Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast, 2010), Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State, 2009), Buster Posey (Florida State, 2008) and David Price (Vanderbilt, 2007).

Spillane is the 15th student-athlete in Illinois athletics history to earn a national player of the year award. He joins a list of 10 Illinois Athletics Hall of Famers, including Chuck Carney, Red Grange, Andy Phillip, Dick Butkus, Jim Grabowski, Mary Eggers, Renee Heiken Slone, Tonya Williams, Perdita Felicien and Dee Brown.

Spillane showed a rare combo of power and speed as the only player in the nation to hit 20+ home runs and steal 15+ bases. He became the first player in Illinois history to reach 15 homers and 15 steals in the same season, while also leading the Big Ten in batting average (.389), slugging percentage (.903), on-base percentage (.498), OPS (1.401), home runs (23), RBIs (60) and total bases (158).

The Wheeling, Illinois, native had an incredible .903 slugging percentage, the best mark in the nation since 2009 when Bryce Brentz slugged .930 for Middle Tennessee State. Spillane is the first player in the BBCOR era to slug over .900 and the first Power 5 player to lead the nation at over .900 since Pat Burrell slugged .948 for Miami (Fla.) in 1996.

The .903 slugging percentage is the second-best in the history of the Big Ten Conference behind Illinois Athletics Hall of Famer Darrin Fletcher’s .913 in 1987. It vaulted Spillane’s career slugging percentage to .723, an Illinois record and the top active slugging percentage in the NCAA of players with two or more years of experience.

Spillane put his name all over the Illinois record book in 2018. His single-season Illinois ranks include second in slugging (.903), second in home runs (23), second in Big Ten home runs (10), tied for fourth in total bases (158), tied for fourth in Big Ten total bases (67) and fifth in on-base percentage (.498).

Spillane was also named to the Collegiate Baseball All-America first team as part of the announcement.

Spillane Stats and Notes
• Leads the nation in slugging percentage (.903)
• Leads the nation in OPS (1.401)
• Leads the nation in home runs per game (0.46)
• Leads the nation in weighted on-base average (.569)
• Ranks second in the nation in home runs (23), fifth in total bases (158), ninth in on-base percentage (.498), 14th in RBIs per game (1.20) and 18th in batting average (.389)
• Only player in the nation with 20+ homers and 15+ stolen bases
• Only Division I player in history to slug over .900 in the BBCOR era
• First player in Division I to slug over .900 for a season since 2009 (Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee State, .930)
• First Power 5 player to lead the nation in slugging at over .900 since Pat Burrell (.948) for Miami (Fla.) in 1996
• No. 2 in Big Ten history in slugging percentage for a season (Darrin Fletcher, Illinois, 1987, .913)
• No. 1 in the nation in career slugging percentage among active players with two or more seasons (.723)
• No. 1 in Illinois history in career slugging percentage (.723)
• 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year
• 2018 Big Ten regular season triple crown (.407, 22 HR, 57 RBIs)
• 2018 Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten
• First player in Big Ten history to win three straight Big Ten Player of the Week awards (3/19-4/2/18)
• First player in Illinois history to win national player of the week honors twice
• Led the Big Ten in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS, home runs, RBIs and total bases
• Illinois single-season ranks include second in slugging (.903), second in home runs (23), second in Big Ten home runs (10), tied for fourth in total bases (158), tied for fourth in Big Ten total bases (67) and fifth in on-base percentage (.498)

Illinois All-Time National Players of the Year
2018 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year: Bren Spillane
2012 USTFCCCA Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year: Andrew Riley
2011 Soccer News Net Women’s Player of the Year: Vanessa DiBernardo
2009 USTFCCCA Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year: Angela Bizzarri
2005 Sporting News Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Dee Brown
2003 USTFCCCA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Perdita Felicien
2001 USTFCCCA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Perdita Felicien
1996 Track & Field Collegiate News Athlete of the Year: Tonya Williams
1993 NGCA and Golf Week National Player of the Year: Renee Heiken Slone
1988 Honda Award and Broderick Volleyball Player of the Year: Mary Eggers
1965 Sporting News Football Player of the Year: Jim Grabowski
1964 American Football Coaches Association and Sporting News National Player of the Year: Dick Butkus
1943 Sporting News Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Andy Phillip
1924 Frank A. Toomey Trophy (pre-Heisman Trophy): Red Grange
1922 Helms Foundation Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Chuck Carney
1917 Helms Foundation Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Ray Woods

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