Delta State University first baseman Zack Shannon became the first player in NCAA Division II history to be named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings National Player of the Year in consecutive seasons, as announced by the organization on Tuesday. He becomes only the second player to garner the recognition two times at any level, joining Shawn Gilblair of Eastern Connecticut State (NCAA Division III), who won the award in 2007 and 2009.
Shannon (2017/2018) is the sixth Statesmen to be named Rawlings/ABCA National Player of the Year, joining Bubba Dixon (1994), David Townsend (1996), Dee Haynes (2000) and Jud Thigpen (2004) as past recipients.
“The ABCA National Player of the Year is a great honor and to be selected two times is a tremendous accomplishment for Zack, our baseball program, and our university,” head coach Mike Kinnison said. “His accomplishments the last two years make him very deserving and were a major factor in our team’s success.”
Shannon, who helped the Statesmen to the 2018 GSC regular season title and a 42-11 overall record, adds the honor to a long list of accolades including, the D2CCA and NCBWA National Player of the Year, consensus First-Team All-American, Golden Spikes Award mid-year and semifinalist lists, Gulf South Conference Player of the Year and First-Team All-GSC, D2CCA, ABCA and NCWBA South Region Player of the Year and First-Team All-Region.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native belted a state of Mississippi and DSU record 31 home runs and drove in a DSU single-season record 93 runs. Shannon led the GSC and all of collegiate baseball in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.955) and total bases (193). He started all 53 games, batting .406 with 72 runs scored, 82 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, walked 35 times and was hit by a pitch 11 times. Shannon’s 193 total bases set a new DSU single-season record.
After his record-setting senior campaign, Shannon was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 15th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on June 6.
He is the 38th Statesman selected in the draft and the 12th pick since 2012, joining 2016 draftees Dalton Moats (LHP / 15th / Rays), Trent Giambrone (2B / 25th / Cubs) and Jacob Howell (RHP / 21st / Nationals) on active organizational rosters.