Commentary

ESPN's second team All-Americans

Originally Published: February 8, 2012
By Graham Hays | ESPN.com

As part of our look at the 2012 season, Graham Hays honors the nation's best players. For ESPN's first-team All-America selections, click here.

C: Taylor Edwards, Nebraska
Edwards wasted no time making an impression on the Big 12 as a freshman, and she should do the same in the Big Ten as Nebraska lands in its new home. Edwards hit 18 home runs last season, second in school history, and finished with a .738 slugging percentage and .483 on-base percentage.

1B: Lexy Bennett, Texas
No conference had better pitching last season than the Big 12, and Bennett still hit .517 with a 1.069 slugging percentage in 12 conference games, stopped only by an injury. Overall, she led the Longhorns with a 1.302 OPS in 46 games.

2B: Natalie Villarreal, Texas A&M
A player deserves All-America consideration simply for being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in two of her first three seasons, as Villarreal did for the Aggies. But she's more than a glove; she hit .335 with a .449 on-base percentage and 10 stolen bases in 2011.

SS: Katelyn Boyd, Arizona State
She might be the second-best player in the nation behind Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen -- if she is in fact behind Hansen. Boyd has good range and a strong arm in the field, but she is in a league of her own at the plate. She hit 18 home runs and stole 20 bases last season, leading the national champions with a 1.334 OPS.

3B: Amanda Chidester, Michigan
Chidester wasn't even a third baseman until last season, her third in Ann Arbor, but she took to the hot corner rather well. A reliable glove in the field, she was the biggest bat on a team with more than a few options for that label. Chidester needed just 58 games to drive in 75 runs.

OF: Annie Lockwood, Arizona State
As productive a hitter as Boyd was last season for Arizona State, she didn't lead the Sun Devils in home runs or RBIs. Those honors went to Lockwood, who managed the impressive feat of hitting 19 home runs and striking out just 14 times in 62 games. She doesn't get herself out, and opponents don't have much luck with it, either.

OF: Kimi Pohlman, Washington
A starter with far more speed than experience on the Huskies' 2009 national championship team, Pohlman enters her senior season as one of the Pac-12's most experienced hitters. She finished 2011 with a .432 average, second only to Ashley Hansen among Pac-12 players, stole 25 bases and showed she's more than a pure slapper with 12 extra-base hits.

OF: Andrea Harrison, UCLA
Harrison was one of three Pac-12 players last season with an on-base percentage of better than .500 and a slugging percentage better than .750. And if you share a list with Ashley Hansen and Katelyn Boyd, you're doing just fine.

UT: Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
She should settle in at third base this season, but Chavanne was masterful at both the hot corner and the outfield last season. At the plate, she hit .455 with 33 stolen bases (caught just three times) and mixed in some power with 11 extra-base hits.

SP: Whitney Canion, Baylor
A season after working just 48.2 innings because of injury, Canion bounced back in a big way. The southpaw went 31-12 with a 1.28 ERA and 339 strikeouts in 278.2 innings, providing the cornerstone for a Baylor team that reached the World Series for just the second time.

SP: Jen Mineau, Fordham
Mineau went 24-9 with a 1.22 ERA and 300 strikeouts in 224.2 innings last season. And that was a season in which she started at far less than 100 percent because of a foot injury and probably never did get all the way back. Over the past two seasons, she has 802 strikeouts and just 72 walks.

SP: Jolene Henderson, California
Cal was supposed to have two quality pitchers last season. Instead, after Valerie Arioto was ruled out with an injury, it had one great pitcher doing the work of two. Henderson led the nation with 40 wins and recorded a 0.99 ERA, working 333.1 innings and throwing 36 complete games.

Graham Hays covers women's college softball for ESPN.com. E-mail him at Graham.Hays@espn.com. Follow him on Twitter: @grahamhays.

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.