Upon learning about Keaton Kringlen's accolade, fans of his may have thought, "Hold up, wait a minute." The opening refrain from his walk-up song. A song that caused a Pavlovian response to expect some positivity at the plate -- for good reason.
Keaton hit .369 with 5 homers and 34 RBI. He settled in at his usual spot in the 6-hole of the batting lineup giving the Cougars a .442 on-base percentage and a .560 slugging percentage.
Kringlen played in right field in place of the injured Kyle Dean for the majority of the season. He seized upon his opportunity. Keaton was honored earlier as West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year to go along with his Freshman All-American selection.
Kringlen has been described multiple times by Coach Mike Littlewood as a "Mini Mike Trout." The way Keaton plays the game instantly made him one of the most fun players to watch. Fans couldn't help but notice his ever-present grin and jovial approach to the game.
Once Keaton chased down 3 or 4 deep foul balls in a row without quite getting there for the catch. The balls were landing out by the opposing teams dugout in Miller Field. After each unsuccessful, long rundown, Kringlen would take a few moments to talk with the opposing pitchers warming up their arms. Then, would turn back to take his place in right with a bigger smile each time.
Kringlen highlights one of the finest freshman classes in BYU baseball history. Kyle Dean, Jackson Cluff, Daniel Schneemann, Easton Walker, and Brock Hale all showed that BYU has a lot to like about the next two seasons.