Kentucky junior outfielder Zach Reks has been named a finalist for the Gregg Olson Award as the Breakout Player of the Year in college baseball.
An incredible story, Reks played at the Air Force Academy as a freshman in 2013, batting .210 with no home runs and eight RBI. He transferred to the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2013 and didn’t play for two years. In the fall of 2015, he decided to try out and he made the team.
When the 2016 season started, Reks gradually earned a place in the lineup and never let it go. He finished second on the team in hitting with a .331 batting average and led the team in on-base percentage at .425. He had seven home runs and 22 runs batted in while scoring 27 runs and stealing three bases. He also played well in left field, making only one error all season and he had a .989 fielding percentage.
Reks played his best baseball down the stretch. He had a late-season power surge that saw him hit six home runs in the final 15 games and he had a season-best 10-game hitting streak late in the year.
Here are his collegiate stats:
2013 Air Force 100 AB, 10 R, 21 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 18 SO, 2 SB, .210 batting average, .231 on-base percentage
2014 Did not play
2015 Did not play
2016 Kentucky 154 AB, 27 R, 51 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 22 BB, 20 SO, 3 SB, .331 batting average, .425 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage
Reks is one of 12 finalists for the award, which will be announced during the College World Series. The award is named in honor of former major league and Auburn University reliever Gregg Olson. After an unremarkable freshman season at Auburn, Olson broke through with an incredible sophomore year, compiling an 11-1 record, 10 saves and 1.26 ERA while receiving first-team All-America honors.
For more information on the Kentucky baseball team, follow @UKBaseball on Twitter and Facebook or visit UKathletics.com.
by Tony Neely
Asst. AD / Media Relations