Janesville Craig's Jacob Campbell throws during a Division 1 state quarterfinal game at Fox Cities Stadium.
The Wisconsin Baseball Central Player of the Year award goes to the position player who maintained the most consistent level of excellence over the course of the year. Wisconsin continues to produce high-level talent, and the winner is the best of the best. Players of any grade are eligible to win the award.
The award was first introduced in 2015. Athens' Shane Coker won the inaugural award, Kenosha Indian Trail's Gavin Lux won in 2016 and Prescott's Peter Brookshaw won in 2017.
These are the 10 finalists for 2018 Player of the Year, listed in alphabetical order by last name. The winner will be announced on Friday, July 6.
Brookshaw was the Player of the Year last season, and can become the first-ever back-to-back winner if he gets it this year. He followed up last season’s sensational campaign by hitting .531 with nine doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs this spring. The infielder also stole 14 bases. He’ll play at North Dakota State next year.
Campbell, Janesville Craig’s standout catcher, helped the Cougars return to the state tournament this season. He hit .402 and bashed eight doubles, three triples, three home runs and drove in 25 runs. He’s also known for his elite defensive abilities behind the plate. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 36th round of this year’s MLB Draft, but opted to play college baseball at Illinois rather than sign a contract.
Drays capped an outstanding career by leading Jefferson to a Division 2 state runner-up finish. The infielder was the team’s undisputed top hitter. He batted .488 with 10 doubles, three triples and eight home runs – including a homer at the state tournament in a minor league ballpark. He drove in 32 runs for the Eagles. He’ll play at Northern Illinois next year.
Holtz has arguably been the state’s best player over the last four years. A starter on varsity since his freshman season, he hit over .400 every year of his career. He helped Arrowhead to two state runner-up finishes in the last three years. The catcher batted .481 with six doubles, 10 home runs and 39 RBIs this spring. He will play at Indiana next year.
Parrish had a spectacular senior season, putting up standout stats as both a hitter and pitcher. His exploits at the plate have him up for Player of the Year. The shortstop hit .455 with 10 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 32 RBIs. He’ll play for UW-Whitewater next season.
Pica slugged his way to statewide recognition this season. The infielder hit 17 doubles and three triples to help drive his batting average all the way up to .483 to end the year. He drove in 29 runs for the Hilltoppers. If he keeps up this pace, he’ll be terrorizing Mississippi Valley Conference pitchers for the next two years. He’s currently not committed to a college.
Roden closed out a stellar career with his best season for the Cardinals. The infielder finished with a .465 batting average and slugged 14 doubles, four triples, and drove in 28 runs. He also stole 11 bases, and was a first team All-Big Eight Conference selection. He will play at Creighton next year.
Seager is a finalist for Player of the Year for the second season in a row. After a breakout junior campaign, he followed with more of the same in his senior year. He hit .614 with 10 doubles, one triple and five home runs for the Trojans. The outfielder also tallied 28 RBIs. He’ll play at Winona State next year.
After two years of figuring out the varsity game, Stevens finally put it all together this season. He was the Division 1 state champion’s best player by far, hitting .512 with eight doubles, three triples and eight home runs. He drove in 38 runs. He showcased his dominance in the state championship game, picking off an Arrowhead runner at second base to end a Warhawk rally with Waunakee clinging to a 1-0 lead. In the next inning, he hit a rocket to the outfield for a triple. Stevens is committed to Arkansas, and figures to get some looks in next year’s MLB Draft.
Washburn was equally dominant at the plate and on the mound this year. He was also a finalist for Pitcher of the Year. When he wasn’t pitching, he patrolled the outfield. He hit .443 with 10 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs and 55 RBIs this season. He’s committed to play for College World Series champion Oregon State.