Mizzou's Keaton Steele, Josh Lester Named All-SEC
COLUMBIA - Mizzou baseball standouts Keaton Steele and Josh Lester were named to the All-Southeastern Conference Teams, as announced by the league office on Tuesday (May 28). Steele was named to the All-SEC First Team as a utility player and Lester earned the first base position on the All-Freshman Team. Steele is the first Tiger to land on an All-Conference First Team since both Aaron Senne and Brett Nicholas earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team in 2010.
Steele was arguably the top two-way player in the SEC this season, and the league's 14 coaches recognized that by naming him All-SEC First Team as a utility player. The Tiger righty led Mizzou with five wins on the mound, two saves and hit .276 at the dish with 24 RBIs and a team-high five homers. He was the only player in a power conference to lead his team in wins, saves and home runs this season. Steele was even better in SEC play, earning four of his five wins and both of his saves while hitting all five of his homers in league games. In SEC play, Steele led Mizzou in batting (.306), slugging (.542), homers (five) and on-base percentage (.435). He also had an ERA of 3.00 in league games and struck out 45 batters in 48.0 innings in SEC play.
Not only were his numbers as a two-way player remarkable, but he also earned a pair of SEC weekly honors during the regular season, being named SEC Pitcher of the Week following Mizzou's series with South Carolina and was then named SEC Player of the Week after doing it all in a series win at Georgia. He was the first player in 16 years to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week and Player of the Week in the same season.
In his first year in black and gold, Lester was arguably one of the Tigers' most consistent hitters and fielders in 2013. He hit .260 on the year, but was sensational with runners in scoring position, driving in 25 runs, just three off of the team-lead, and he led the team with nine doubles and tied for the team-lead in extra-base hits with 11 as he also tallied a pair of homers. His numbers were excellent in SEC play as well, driving in 14 runs while hitting six of his nine doubles and both homers in league play.
But as impressive as Lester was with his bat in his freshman season, he was even better in the field. In fact, he played all four infield positions for Mizzou and was the most reliable infielder defensively, committing only four errors in 281 chances, good for a .986 fielding percentage, a team-best among Tiger infielders. His four errors were the fewest among Tiger infielders despite playing all four positions.