Three Tigers Selected to Player of the Year Watch List
Makayla Martin, Kaylee Carlson, and Kasey Cooper are strong candidates for Player of the Year (Photos: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)
With just seven days until first pitch, USA Softball has released their choices for the Player of the Year Watchlist. Three Auburn Tigers made the list of 50. Two pitchers and the reigning espnW player of the year made the cut. Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin were recognized for their talents in the circle after memorable first seasons in orange and blue. Carlson recorded a team-high 130.2 innings of work in 2016. In 22 starts, Carlson finished with a 19-2 record, 10 complete games, four shutouts, 71 strikeouts and a 2.36 ERA. Martin recorded the lowest ERA of the staff last season (1.57) and was second on the team in appearances behind Rachael Walters with 32. Martin finished the year with a 15-4 record, 64 strikeouts, and 4 saves. Much to no one’s surprise, senior third baseman Kasey Cooper has also been named to the watchlist. Cooper set many records in 2016, including games started (70), RBI (83), home runs (21), walks (71), on-base percentage (.581), slugging percentage (.880) and total bases (163). She also won SEC Player of the Year and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, which is a first for a softball player in the conference. Auburn ties Florida, Florida State, Arizona, and Oklahoma for the most representatives on the list. The Top 25 Finalists for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 12. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 10 and the Top 3 announced May 24. The 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 30. Auburn, who will begin the season ranked #2 in the country, will open the season on February 9 against #1 Oklahoma in a rematch of the 2016 Women’s College World Series final.