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By: Anna Dunlavey; @annadunlaveyy
Colton Shaver is a pitcher’s worst nightmare. He’s a power hitter, and if he comes up to bat with runners on base, those runners will score. Although just starting his collegiate career, he’s already received numerous honors and accolades. Most recently, Shaver was selected, along with only three other collegiate ball players, to participate in the sixth annual TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I was pretty excited,” Shaver said of the moment when he got the news. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I know I’m going to be able to compete against the best of the best, especially when it comes to power.”
Shaver, a rising sophomore at Brigham Young University (BYU) from Riverton, Utah, finished the 2015 season as the NCAA’s third-leading freshman home-run hitter. He led the BYU Cougers in home runs with a total of 13. There were five games in the season where he homered twice. Shaver was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, as well as to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team.
Before BYU, Shaver played on multiple travel teams such as the Utah Horns. He said these teams helped him in the transition to college ball because “they gave me the background of upper-level baseball.” Shaver said there was a bit of a learning curve when entering college, but his stats don’t show it. Shaver established a place for himself in the Cougars’ lineup as the starting designated hitter in 53 games, and had a 31-game on-base streak, the second-longest streak on the team. He ended the year with a .314 batting average and a .598 slugging percentage.
Shaver has been having a great summer with the Grays. He has one of the best batting averages on the team at .320, and is currently on a five-game hitting streak. He has reached base in almost every game he’s played this season. He is also one of the Grays’ most versatile defensive players–Shaver has primarily played catcher, but has also served as first baseman, designated hitter, and even pitcher.
Shaver hasn’t hit any home runs for the Grays as of yet, but part of that is because the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League is a wooden bat league. “The ball flies a little bit better with metal,” Shaver said. “If you don’t hit it right with the wood, it doesn’t go anywhere, and it kind of hurts.” However, he said that this summer’s metal- to-wood experience has been helpful.
No matter what happens at the Derby, Shaver’s thrilled to be going. “I’m excited for the opportunity to go out with these kids and play in front of the fans and be in the environment. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby will be broadcasted live on ESPN on Thursday, July 2. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 CDT.