Navy sophomore right-hander Landon Kruer has been named to the midseason watch list for the 18th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. Kruer is one of 56 relief pitchers on the list, as announced by the association on Wednesday.
Kruer currently leads the Patriot League and is ranked fifth nationally with eight saves this season. He has pitched in 15 appearances out of the bullpen, with a 4.29 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 21 innings. Kruer’s eight saves have set a new personal career best, and he is only two saves away from tying the single-season program record.
Kruer started his collegiate career as a catcher but was converted to the mound and earned Freshman All-American honors from both NBCWA and Collegiate Baseball last season. In just two seasons, Kruer has already accrued 15 saves, placing him fourth all-time in program history, with a 3.15 ERA. He needs only two more saves to match the school record of 17 career saves.
Kruer is the first Navy reliever to be named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List since Trey Braithwaite in 2020. He is also the only Patriot League reliever to appear on the 2023 Midseason Watch List.
The midseason watch list includes 56 players, with 18 previously named on the preseason watch list that was released in February. The list represents 24 conferences, with the Southeastern Conference leading the way with eight relief pitchers. The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Pac-12 Conference follow with seven selections each, while the Big 12 and Conference USA each have four apiece. Ten of the 24 conferences have multiple selections.
The NCBWA will announce the finalists on June 7, and the winner will be named on June 16 at the 2023 College World Series. Kruer will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Navy closer Sante Grossi, who won the Stopper of the Year Award in 2016.
Kruer and the Navy Midshipmen are currently 22-16 overall and 7-5 in Patriot League play. They are tied for third in the league standings and will look to finish strong in the final weeks of the regular season.