USA Baseball unveils 50-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list
Reigning national champion, Vanderbilt, places three players on preseason watch list
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball released its 50-player preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list on Tuesday, beginning the organization's journey to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country in a trophy presentation on Tuesday, June 23 in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, 2015 marks the 38th year of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.
The preseason watch list features 50 of the nation's top amateur players, and will be a "rolling" list until May 22 -- when the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are announced -- ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the collegiate and high school seasons.
"It is hard to believe that we will be presenting the Golden Spikes Award for the 38th time this June," said USA Baseball's executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. "2015 looks to be another outstanding year for amateur baseball and we can't wait to follow the competition across all levels of the game this season."
Six players on the watch list have previously been named semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in their careers. Nathan Kirby (LHP, junior, Virginia), Michael Murray (RHP, junior, Florida Gulf Coast) and DJ Stewart (OF, junior, Florida State) were all semifinalists for the award in 2014, while David Berg (RHP, senior, UCLA), Alex Bregman (SS, junior, LSU) and Thomas Eshelman (RHP, junior, Cal State Fullerton) earned the recognition in the 2013 season.
Players on the list represent 17 different collegiate athletic conferences, led by Southeastern Conference with 12 players named to the watch list. The Atlantic Coast Conference has 10 athletes on the list, while the Pac 12 has eight. 2014 NCAA Division I national champion, Vanderbilt, leads all institutions with three players on the preseason watch list, while Cal State Fullerton, Florida, Miami (Fla.), TCU, UCLA and Virginia all placed a pair of athletes on the list.
Also appearing on the list are three non-NCAA Division I athletes. Phil Bickford (RHP, sophomore, College of Southern Nevada) is the lone junior college representative after winning the Robert A. McNeese Award in the Cape Code League last summer. Two-time Division III national player and pitcher of the year, Chris Haddeland (RHP, senior, Linfield), returns to the watch list after receiving consideration for the Golden Spikes Award late into the 2014 season. Brendan Rodgers (SS, senior, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS) is the only high school athlete on the preseason watch list. Bryce Harper (2010) and Alex Fernandez (1990) are the only two non-NCAA Division I winners of the award.
On April 9, USA Baseball will release its 60-man midseason watch list, shaped by the Golden Spikes Award committee. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Friday, May 22, marks the day when amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list. On Tuesday, June 3, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.
The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on Tuesday, June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.
Last year, University of Kentucky's two-way star, A.J. Reed, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
The anticipated timeline for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award announcements is:
• Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
• Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
• Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
• Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
• Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
• Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
• Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
• Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
A complete list of the 50-player USA Baseball preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
David Berg, RHP, Senior, UCLA, Pac 12
Phil Bickford, RHP, Sophomore, CC of Southern Nevada, Scenic West (JC)
Alex Bregman, SS, Junior, LSU, SEC
Walker Buehler, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Austin Byler, 3B, Senior, Nevada, Mountain West
Shaun Chase, C, Senior, Oregon, Pac 12
Zack Collins, C, Sophomore, Miami, ACC
Wil Crowe, RHP, Sophomore, South Carolina, SEC
Tyler Davis, RHP, Senior, Washington, Pac 12
Steven Duggar, OF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Riley Ferrell, RHP, Junior, TCU, Big 12
Blake Fox, LHP, Junior, Rice, C-USA
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Junior, Louisville, ACC
Justin Garza, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Eric Gutierrez, 1B, Junior, Texas Tech, Big 12
Chris Haddeland, RHP, Senior, Linfield, Northwest Athletic (DIII)
Ian Happ, OF, Junior, Cincinnati, American Athletic
Tyler Jay, LHP, Junior, Illinois, Big 10
Casey Jones, OF, Senior, Elon, CAA
James Kaprielian, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac 12
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Jake Lemoine, RHP, Junior, Houston, American Athletic
Brett Lilek, LHP, Junior, Arizona State, Pac 12
Richie Martin, SS, Junior, Florida, SEC
Tate Matheny, OF, Junior, Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Michael Matuella, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC
Andrew Moore, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac 12
Preston Morrison, RHP, Senior, TCU, Big 12
Michael Murray, RHP, Junior, Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun
Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Sophomore, Oklahoma, Big 12
Kevin Newman, SS, Junior, Arizona, Pac 12
Connor Panas, 3B, Senior, Canisius, MAAC
Cal Quantrill, RHP, Sophomore, Stanford, Pac 12
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Senior (High School), Lake Mary (Fla.), High School
Chris Shaw, OF, Junior, Boston College, ACC
Logan Shore, RHP, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
DJ Stewart, OF, Junior, Florida State, ACC
Christin Stewart, OF, Junior, Tennessee, SEC
Andrew Suarez, LHP, RS-Junior, Miami, ACC
Dansby Swanson, SS, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Keegan Thompson, RHP, Sophomore, Auburn, SEC
Trent Thornton, RHP, Junior, North Carolina, ACC
Blake Trahan, SS, Junior, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sun Belt
Christian Trent, LHP, Junior, Ole Miss, SEC
Robert Tyler, RHP, Sophomore, Georgia, SEC
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Colin Welmon, RHP, Senior, Loyola Marymount, West Coast
Mikey White, SS, Junior, Alabama, SEC