After a tremendous rookie season, Ohio State right fielder Dominic Canzone was named to the third-team All-Big Ten and All-Freshman teams on Tuesday. The announcement came as part of the conference’s end of year awards in advance of the Big Ten tournament that begins on Wednesday in Bloomington on the campus of Indiana University.
Canzone overcame a rocky a start to his collegiate career to establish himself as the Buckeyes’ most consistent, most dangerous hitter in the middle of the order by season’s end. Appearing in 49 of the club’s 56 games, including 39 starts, the Sagamore Hills native slashed .343/.390/.458 with three triples, four doubles, three home runs, 36 runs batted in, 13 stolen bases, and 22 runs scored. His batting average placed him fifth overall for the year in the Big Ten.
“There is a fire in him,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals told the Columbus Dispatch last week. “He’s a quiet leader being a freshman, but there’s (a fire) burning inside him that fuels his competitiveness. He has earned the respect of all of our team.”
A Louisville Slugger High School All-American at Walsh Jesuit High School, Canzone was edged out for Freshman of the Year honors by Maryland’s Tyler Blohm.
During conference play, Canzone upped his game, slashing .386/.432/.586, with 32 hits, 24 RBIs, and seven steals, all of which ranked among the top players in the Big Ten. Playing right field, which is perhaps the toughest spot at Bill Davis Stadium due to the sun and wind, he did not commit an error in 85 chances, contributed seven outfield assists, and made a number of highlight-reel catches to rob opponents of extra-base hits.
Canzone was perhaps the biggest bright spot in a disappointing season for Ohio State. The Buckeyes went 22-34 on the year, and at 8-16 in conference play, missed out on the Big Ten tournament just a year after winning it and claiming a berth in an NCAA regional.
“We definitely have the talent,” Canzone said. “It’s about sticking with the process and understanding that we are good enough. More than anything, it’s really going out and doing it. We have the guys to compete for another Big Ten championship.”
No other Ohio State players received all-conference recognition, though senior co-captain Jalen Washington was the club’s Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Jake Adams of Iowa won Big Ten Player of the Year unanimously, Maryland’s Brian Shaffer took home Pitcher of the Year, and Nebraska skipper Darin Erstad was named Coach of the Year.
Canzone’s successful campaign shows his potential, and if he continues to develop as a five-tool player during his time in scarlet and gray, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he could contend for conference Player of the Year honors, receive first-team All-Big Ten distinction, and hear his name called in the MLB draft before his career is over.
The full listing of all-conference honorees can be found here.