Mercer's Kyle Lewis wins the Golden Spikes Award
Lewis is the first-ever Southern Conference player to win the Golden Spikes Award
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Thursday that Mercer's Kyle Lewis has won the 2016 Golden Spikes Award sponsored by Major League Baseball and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation. The 39th annual award was presented live on ESPN's flagship program, SportsCenter, by George Grande, who anchored the first-ever SportsCenter telecast on September 7, 1979.
The other finalists for this year's award were outfielders Seth Beer (Clemson) and Corey Ray (Louisville), and right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (Florida). All three draft-eligible finalists were selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June. Lewis was selected 11th overall by the Seattle Mariners, while Ray was drafted fifth overall by the Milwaukee Brewers and Shore was selected 47th overall by the Oakland Athletics.
"Kyle Lewis, Seth Beer, Corey Ray, and Logan Shore are four tremendous ambassadors of amateur baseball at the collegiate level," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "All four of these young men represent their universities and families with remarkable class and we are honored to celebrate their accomplishments. Kyle's season stood out above three other well-deserving candidates and we are delighted to present him with the Golden Spikes Award."
Lewis is the first Golden Spikes Award winner out of Mercer University and the Southern Conference. He was also honored with a number of other collegiate baseball awards including being named the Southern Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
The outfielder batted .395 and belted 20 home runs on his way to being named to six All-America teams this season. The junior had a 48-game on-base streak, compiled 27 multi-hit performances in 2016, and ranked fourth nationally in walks while setting a school record with 66.
Lewis is the eighth outfielder in Golden Spikes Award history to win the award and second in as many years after Arkansas' Andrew Benintendi won the award in 2015. The first outfielder to earn the honor was current Cleveland Indians Manger Terry Francona in 1980.
Following the live presentation of the Golden Spikes Award on SportsCenter, the finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner hosted at the Jonathan Club Los Angeles. In addition to the Golden Spikes Award, Willie Randolph will be recognized as the recipient of the Rod Dedeaux USA Baseball Coach of the Year Award after leading Team USA to a silver medal in the inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12™ Championship in Japan and Taiwan in 2015.
The Golden Spikes Award winner was selected after the list of finalists was sent to a voting body consisting of more than 200 voters that include past Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow amateur baseball closely, select professional baseball personnel, and current USA Baseball staff members.
For the ninth consecutive year, fans were also able to get involved with the award voting by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com, powered by MLBAM. The website features content devoted exclusively to the Golden Spikes Award, including news, voting history, past-winner photo galleries and photographs of the 2016 finalists.