LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky junior third baseman JaVon Shelby (pictured) has been named a third-team preseason All-America honoree, it was announced on Monday, Jan. 25, by D1baseball.
A native of Lexington, Ky., Shelby has earned a pair of preseason All-America accolades in 2016, including a third-team spot from Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball. He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors as UK’s everyday second baseman in each of his first two seasons, including first-team accolades in 2015. Shelby enters 2016 as the leading returnee among SEC players in OPS in conference play (1.073) and has led all SEC second baseman in defensive assists in each of his two seasons. In SEC play in 2015, Shelby ranked only behind national player of the year Andrew Benintendi and senior slugger Kyle Martin in OPS. A 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-handed hitter, Shelby finished 2015 with a .312 average (63-for-202) with nine homers and 44 RBI. Shelby had a .525 slugging percentage and ranked ninth in the SEC with a .442 on-base percentage. As a freshman in 2014, Shelby earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors, hitting .250 with four homers and 21 RBI. JaVon comes from a decorated baseball family that includes his father John T., an 11-year MLB veteran and the first-base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, and his older brother John, who belted 33 homers and drove in 131 runs during 2004-06 for the Wildcats. John earned All-SEC honors in 2006 after leading UK from a last-place finish in 2005 to the first SEC Championship in school history. Combined, the Shelby family has hit 46 home runs for the Kentucky program, driving in 196 runs. The youngest of the Shelby brothers, slugging outfielder Jaren, signed his National Letter of Intent with Kentucky in November. Kentucky begins its 2016 season on Feb. 19 at Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C.
BASEBALL AMERICA TABS UK PRESEASON NO. 25
Kentucky has been ranked No. 25 in the preseason, it was announced on Monday, Jan. 25, by Baseball America.
It marks just the second time in UK history that the Wildcats have appeared in the widely respected Baseball America preseason top-25, including a school-record No. 11 preseason spot in 2013. UK has been ranked in the preseason just five times in its history, including three times under Coach Gary Henderson. Preseason polls have been acquired back to 1999.
The Wildcats check in as seven Southeastern Conference teams in the Baseball America Top 25, including top-ranked Florida, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Kentucky's rival, Louisville, is rated No. 2.
Kentucky has now been ranked in two preseason polls in 2016, checking in No. 29 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
As part of its season preview, Baseball America has ranked the Top 100 college prospects available for the 2016 MLB Draft, including UK junior righty Zack Brown (No. 30) and senior right-hander Kyle Cody (No. 33). D1baseball has also ranked the top 300 college prospects available for the 2016 MLB Draft, including Brown (No. 40), Cody (No. 45), UK junior third baseman JaVon Shelby (No. 75) and senior righty Dustin Beggs (No. 275).
In addition to the aforementioned preseason honorees, the Wildcats return standout Evan White, who was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the SEC All-Defensive Team first baseman in his collegiate debut. UK also returns junior outfielders Storm Wilson and Marcus Carson, in addition to senior catcher Zach Arnold. UK’s bullpen is boosted by the return of senior righties Bo Wilson and Zach Strecker and left-handed workhorse Logan Salow. UK sophomore lefty Zach Logue and sophomore infielder Riley Mahan are coming off all-star summers in their collegiate leagues, with Logue earning pitcher of the year honors in the circuit.
UK Baseball Preseason Rankings History (since 1999)
2016: No. 25 (Baseball America), No. 29 (Collegiate Baseball)
2013: No. 8 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 11 (Baseball America), No. 12 (NCBWA), No. 13 (Perfect Game), No. 15 (ESPN/USA Today)
2009: No. 19 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 23 (NCBWA)
2008: No. 20 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 25 (NCBWA)
2007: No. 23 (Rivals.com), No. 27 (NCBWA), No. 30 (Baseball America)