Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, May 18, 2015

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Some Big Ten baseball player is about to join a prestigious group.

[ MORE: View our 2015 Big Ten Baseball Tournament page ]

If recent history is any indication, whoever takes home most outstanding player of the 2015 Big Ten Baseball Tournament on Sunday afternoon, can look forward to a big payday and a bright pro future.

Take a look at the previous three winners of the award: Indiana's Kyle Schwarber, 2014; Indiana's Sam Travis, 2013; Purdue's Kevin Plawecki, 2012.

One doesn't have to stalk the minor league box scores to know these names. No, two of the players went in the first two rounds of last year's draft (Schwarber, No. 4 – Chicago Cubs; Travis, No. 67 – Boston Red Sox), and the other was a first-round selection two years ago (Plawecki, No. 35 – New York Mets).

There's more. Plawecki, 24, is already in the MLB, this after the catcher got the call from the New York Mets in mid-April. Schwarber, 22, was the Chicago Cubs' No. 4 prospect entering the season, according to Baseball America, and appears to be on the fast track to the bigs. For what it's worth, the three players ahead of Schwarber on the Cubs' prospect list are all playing at Wrigley Field.

[ MORE: See our favorite uniforms of Big Ten tourney teams ]

Who's next, you ask? We'll find out in the coming days, starting Wednesday morning, when the five-day, double-elimination tournament starts at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

One thing is clear, though, and it's that Big Ten baseball continues to improve its talent level, to the point it could put four teams in the NCAA tournament for the first time.


Signing bonus: $3,125,000
Minor league stats: .341, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 1.074 OPS in 105 pro games, spanning parts of two seasons

Signing bonus: $846,600
Minor league stats: .303, 9 HR, 65 RBI, .794 OPS in 104 pro games, spanning parts of two seasons

Signing bonus: $1,400,000
Minor league stats: .292, 26 HR, 171 RBI, .807 OPS in 296 games, spanning parts of four seasons
MLB stats: .226, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 7 runs, .640 OPS in 18 games