Baseball America Projects Saint Louis University OF Michael Bozarth as A-10 Player of the Year

Mar 22, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Saint Louis Billikens fans cheer in the first half of a men
Mar 22, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Saint Louis Billikens fans cheer in the first half of a men /

Baseball America projects that a SLU player will win the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year award for just the second time since the school joined the conference.

In Baseball America’s annual Atlantic 10 conference baseball preview, which was released Wednesday, writer John Manuel laid out some lofty expectations for a Saint Louis University baseball program that has won four straight regular season A-10 championships. While declaring the Billikens the the “team to beat” in the A-10, Manuel also predicted that senior outfielder Michael Bozarth will win the 2016 conference Player of the Year award.

Bozarth, a St. Louis native out of Parkway North high school, was wildly productive for the Billikens as a junior, and it’s somewhat of a travesty that the 6-foot, 190-pounder hasn’t been drafted yet considering the spectacular all-around numbers that he’s put up year after year. In 2015, Bozarth led the Billikens in batting average (.382), on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.572), and stolen bases (18 on 19 attempts). He also hit six homers, which tied him for third on the team, a real accomplishment seeing as he missed 14 games due to injury.

If Manuel’s prediction comes true, Bozarth would be just the second SLU player to win the A-10’s baseball Player of the Year award since the university joined the conference in 2005. First baseman Mike Vigliarolo shared the award with Charlotte’s Justin Seager following a 2013 season that saw the Billikens go 41-21 while winning the A-10 and advancing to the NCAA Regional at South Carolina.

Next: Should Mike Matheny be Feeling the Heat Heading into 2016?

Manuel also ranked Bozarth as the fourth-best MLB draft prospect in the A-10, following teammates Zach Girrens and Matt Eckelman, both righthanded pitchers, as well as VCU outfielder Logan Farrar. Braxton Martinez, who has played third base throughout his three-year Billikens career but will transition to a dual catcher/first baseman role in 2016, was ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the A-10 according to Manuel. Bozarth and Eckelman will seek to follow the career path of 2015 Kansas City Royals draftee Colton Frabasilio, who was passed over as a junior but was picked as a senior following a strong final campaign with the Billikens.