D2 Baseball is ramping through the first quarter of the season and plenty of players have already made their mark as impact performers or surprise stars for the 2018 year.
The Gulf South Conference is one of the strongest in Division II, and that extends well beyond overall program success. Today, we are focusing on the players at the plate for GSC teams, trying to find who the best hitter is in the league.
But we need your help to vote on the best from our list of five candidates. Voting will take place in the poll following the list of nominations, and voting can only happen in the poll. The polls will close March 22 at 11:00 a.m. PST.
Zack Shannon, Delta State
Key Stats: .474 AVG / 15 HR / 44 RBI / 1.720 OPS
The reigning Tino Martinez Award winner as D2's most outstanding player, Shannon is even better at the plate in his second year with the Statesmen. He is just four shy of his 2017 homer total, and halfway to matching his RBI output. Also listed as a pitcher, he has yet to appear in a game and is focusing on first base where he looks to be a big time draft prospect this coming June.
Cade Marlowe, West Georgia
Key Stats: .418 AVG / 30 RBI / 13 SB
Marlowe is in the top four of the conference standings in all of the stats listed above, with second-place currently locked down in RBI and steals. After leading the team with nine base thefts in 2017, the junior has upped his game to a big level for the current 16-7 Wolves.
Samyr Santos, Shorter
Key Stats: .316 AVG / 9 HR / .724 SLG
Santos is the second leading home run hitter in the conference behind the Ruthean pace of Shannon from Delta State. A native of Miami Gardens, the junior catcher has had a pair of multi-homer games thus far and has walked 15 times in 90+ plate appearances.
Collin Dupree, Montevallo
Key Stats: .407 AVG / 15 RBI / .515 OBP
Dupree has been another outstanding performer thus far in 23 games with the Falcons. The senior catcher and infielder has also stolen eight bases, a somewhat high number for catchers. But with a little over half the season to go, we could see the senior backstop approach some of the nation's best numbers.
Kyle Hubbuch, North Alabama
Key Stats: .383 AVG / 8 HR / 26 RBI / .765 SLG
The second leading player in the GSC for slugging percentage, Hubbuch has been crushing the ball all season for the Lions in their final run before moving up to D1 next season. Mashing eight dingers – third in the conference – has allowed him to drive in many runs for his team, and give them a tie for second place in the league standings.