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Meet the 2009 Golden Spikes Award Candidates

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 12 | L: 0
ERA: 1.34 | K: 174 | BB: 18 | IP: 94.1

The consensus top talent available in this year's draft, Stephen Strasburg has been nothing short of dominant for the Aztecs this season. Stephen put himself on the map with a stellar freshman year at San Diego State as the team's closer before being named the New England Collegiate Baseball League's top prospect in summer ball by Baseball America. Moved to the rotation for his sophomore season, Strasburg again turned heads with brilliant performances, such as a 23-strikeout game against Utah. As a junior, he pitched a no-hitter on May 8th against Air Force, a game in which he struck out 17. Flashing a 100 mph fastball and a plus-plus slider, Strasburg hasn't looked back. The 2009 Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year has a bright future ahead of him.

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FINALIST WINNER Stephen Strasburg
Pitcher, San Diego State

Bats: L | Throws: R | AVG: .405 | H: 87
R: 64 | HR: 17 | RBI: 56

Dustin Ackley followed up an impressive Tar Heel debut in 2007 with an even better sophomore season, in which he hit .417 and maintained on-base and slugging percentages above .500. Dustin's 2009 season has to be considered even better, as he has begun to better leverage his power to accommodate his otherwise flawless offensive game. Observers took notice, as Ackley was recognized as the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. An outfielder in high school, some believe Ackley could play center field again professionally. Given his elite bat, doing so would make him an incredibly valuable player. It would be surprising to see Ackley fall out of the top third of the first round in June's amateur draft.

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FINALIST Dustin Ackley
First Baseman/Outfielder, North Carolina

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 13 | L: 1
ERA: 1.35 | K: 116 | BB: 18 | IP: 106.2

Despite very tough competition in the Pac-10, Mike Leake has been statistically dominant on the hill this year, swarming the Division I top-10 leaderboards for wins, strikeouts, ERA and batting average against. The California native has an excellent feel for pitching and commands his fastball to set up a strong slider, curveball and changeup. Leake led all of Division I NCAA baseball with 13 wins entering the final weekend of play and should be selected sometime in the first round as one of the most polished arms in the draft. To no one's surprise, Leake earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honors.

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FINALIST Mike Leake
Pitcher, Arizona State

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .362 | H: 68
R: 63 | HR: 27 | RBI: 79

Kent Matthes has exploded onto the scene this year to cap a noteworthy career at Alabama. Kent has slugged more than half his hits for extra bases this season, especially impressive when considering he has flirted with hitting .400 throughout. Matthes, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, is a solid athlete with good tools who has carried the Crimson Tide on his back in the team's three-team fight for the SEC West Division title. His upside and veteran-like approach at the plate make a selection in the first two rounds in June's Draft very likely.

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FINALIST Kent Matthes
Outfielder, Alabama

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 12 | L: 1
ERA: 1.61 | K: 91 | BB: 24 | IP: 100.2

A.J. Morris began his senior season with a bang, winning all of his first 11 starts and showing no signs of letting up. The 6-foot-2 righty features a low-90s fastball that sets up a pair of solid offspeed offerings: a sharp breaking ball and changeup. Improved control and more strikeouts have helped to earn Morris well-deserved attention, including being named the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year. The Texas native is expected to be selected in the second or third round of the Draft.

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FINALIST A.J. Morris
Pitcher, Kansas State

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 11 | L: 1
ERA: 2.78 | K: 93 | BB: 34 | IP: 94

Intimidating opposing hitters from the mound with a 6-foot-5 build, Eric Arnett has been a force this season, racking up 11 wins and earning Big 10 Co-Pitcher of the Year honors. Arnett's fastball sits at 92-94 mph and touches 96, and he backs it up with a very good slider to give him two reliable strikeout pitches, according to Baseball America. Arnett is expected to be a first-round pick in the June amateur draft.

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Eric Arnett
Pitcher, Indiana

Bats: | Throws: L | W: 10 | L: 1
ERA: 3.40 | K: 94 | BB: 31 | IP: 79.1

The Missouri Valley Conference's Pitcher of the Year, Buddy Baumann led the conference in both victories and strikeouts and ranked in the top-10 in ERA. Baumann, an Academic All-American, deceives hitters with a low-90s fastball, a hard curveball and a solid changeup. Improved command in 2009 has made Baumann one of the more intriguing college lefties in the draft.

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Buddy Baumann
Pitcher, Missouri State

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 3 | L: 1
ERA: 1.09 | K: 58 | BB: 18 | IP: 41.1

Kyle Bellamy transitioned from a setup role to become the University of Miami's closer in 2009 and rose to the challenge, as the All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team right-hander led the ACC in saves with 16. With a fastball in the low-90s and a sidearm delivery that baffles hitters, many consider Bellamy to be the top relief pitcher in this year's draft class. Bellamy racked up 58 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings, helping to prove he's a talented pitcher who should be able to help a Major League team very soon.

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Kyle Bellamy
Pitcher, Miami

Bats: L | Throws: L | W: 10 | L: 1
ERA: 2.23 | K: 85 | BB: 20 | IP: 93

UC-Irvine is the Mo. 1 ranked Division I baseball team in the country, and Daniel Bibona is a huge reason why. With a sparkling 10-1 record, plenty of strikeouts and less than a baserunner allowed per inning, Bibona has thrived as the staff ace this season. Bibona's first career complete game came on May 15, clinching UC-Irvine's first-ever Big West Conference championship. He held UC-Davis to three runs on five hits and struck out five batters in the clutch performance. Bibona was named the Big West Conference's Pitcher of the Year.

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Daniel Bibona
Pitcher, UC-Irvine

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .473 | H: 89
R: 62 | HR: 26 | RBI: 66

Following a prolific debut with Middle Tennessee State in 2008, Bryce Brentz earned numerous accolades, such as a selection to Louisville Slugger's Freshmen All-American team. Brentz didn't disappoint in his sophomore season either, elevating his game to the next level. Brentz led all of Division I in batting average (.485) and slugging percentage (1.005) and was second in on-base percentage (.550). Additionally, his 27 home runs tied him for the nationwide lead with fellow Golden Spikes Award semifinalist Kent Matthes. The explosive performance was enough to earn Brentz the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Award. Brentz also contributes on the mound as the Blue Raiders' regular Friday starter, where his low-90s fastball and hard slider have helped him notch five wins on the season.

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Bryce Brentz
Outfielder/Pitcher, Middle Tennessee

Bats: B | Throws: R | W: 10 | L: 2
ERA: 2.99 | K: 105 | BB: 19 | IP: 90.1

After three seasons spent largely in relief, Louis Coleman declined to sign as the Washington Nationals' 14th-round selection in the 2008 Draft and returned to LSU to emerge as the Tigers' ace in 2009. Coleman struck out 105 batters in 90 1/3 innings, compiling a nifty 10-2 record to lead LSU to its first conference title since 2003. Coleman earned Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year honors for his dominance and contribution to his team's success.

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Louis Coleman
Pitcher, LSU

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .365 | H: 80
R: 70 | HR: 15 | RBI: 75

A 2008 fifth-round Draft pick and summer Cape Cod League home-run king, Chris Dominguez returned to Louisville and earned Big East Conference Player of the Year honors for his junior season, one in which he led Louisville to its first regular-season conference title in school history. A relief pitcher with a mid-90s fastball during his freshman year, Dominguez offers a big frame that helps him generate excellent power. He was recognized as a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American as well as the Big East Preseason Player of the Year.

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Chris Dominguez
Third Baseman, Louisville

Bats: L | Throws: L | AVG: .398 | H: 76
R: 41 | HR: 14 | RBI: 47

The Titans' everyday center fielder, Josh Fellhauer had a great season, fueling Cal State-Fullerton with speed, gap power and defense. Fellhauer was second in the Big West Conference in batting average (.388) and third in on-base percentage (.468). He drove in 47 runs (fifth in the conference) and added 16 steals, a frequent distraction for pitchers while on the bases. Fellhauer has a future at the top of a Major League lineup, and plenty of teams took notice of his strong spring. He was named Big West Player of the Year.

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Josh Fellhauer
Outfielder, Cal State-Fullerton

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 9 | L: 3
ERA: 3.69 | K: 116 | BB: 15 | IP: 92.2

Kyle Gibson's excellent junior campaign has flown under the radar. A 6-foot-6 righty from Indiana, Gibson throws a sinking low-90s fastball to go with a strong slider and changeup. His excellent strikeout and walk totals as well as the difficult schedule and hitter-friendly park he has had to adapt to make his successful season all the more impressive. Many expect Gibson, named to the 2009 All-Big 12 First Team, to be a top-10 pick in June's amateur draft.

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Kyle Gibson
Pitcher, Missouri

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .385 | H: 74
R: 64 | HR: 14 | RBI: 65

Jason Kipnis turned down an offer from the San Diego Padres after being drafted in the fourth round last summer, and it looks like the strategy was a good idea, as Kipnis has made his case for a first-round selection this time around with a monster junior campaign. Flirting with .400, reaching base more than half the time and absolutely mashing the ball when he makes contact, Kipnis has been an offensive force for the Sun Devils this season. Kipnis has a good feel for the strike zone and has walked more than he has struck out for two consecutive seasons despite a big power stroke. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Year.

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Jason Kipnis
Outfielder, Arizona State

Bats: L | Throws: R | AVG: .392 | H: 78
R: 69 | HR: 24 | RBI: 64

Marc Krauss led the Cape Cod League in RBIs in 2008 and was named to its all-league team following two consecutive seasons of earning All-Mid-American Conference First Team honors. Krauss was poised for a breakout junior season, and he delivered by raking all spring, including a 4-for-4 performance with two home runs in Ohio's MAC Tournament opener. Krauss split time between first base, third base and left field for the Bobcats, leading the conference in both home runs (24) and RBIs (64). He was awarded the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year trophy and should be drafted early in June as scouts take notice of his impressive skills at the plate.

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Marc Krauss
Infielder/Outfielder, Ohio

Bats: L | Throws: L | W: 9 | L: 2
ERA: 3.47 | K: 106 | BB: 27 | IP: 85.2

Justin Marks was unanimously selected as the Big East Preseason Pitcher of the Year, and he delivered an excellent season that earned him recognition as the conference's actual Pitcher of the Year. Marks led Louisville to its first regular-season conference title and the best regular-season record in school history (40-14). Marks notched nine wins and struck out 107 batters in 85 2/3 innings on the season. His low-90s fastball, combined with a slider, curveball and changeup, give the consistent lefty four solid pitches to work with. While his trophy case may already be fairly full, he should be on plenty of teams' radars for the June Major League Draft.

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Justin Marks
Pitcher, Louisville

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .421 | H: 82
R: 76 | HR: 22 | RBI: 81

Marquez offers an uncommon combination of excellent hitting and middle-infield defense that has helped New Mexico State to a 41-15 overall record this season. Marquez earned All-Western Athletic Conference First Team honors at shortstop and was high on league-leader lists for batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all season long. Additionally, with 81 RBIs, he trailed the nationwide leader by just one.

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Bryan Marquez
Second Baseman, New Mexico State

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 10 | L: 0
ERA: 2.63 | K: 101 | BB: 35 | IP: 85.2

Deck McGuire was recognized as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American for his 8-1 record and 3.46 ERA as the Yellow Jackets' mid-week starter last year. Moved to the Friday starter role for the 2009 season, McGuire took off, notching a 10-0 record and racking up 101 strikeouts in just 85 2/3 innings. Already being talked up as one of the best players for the 2010 Draft, McGuire throws low-to-mid-90s heat with three quality offspeed pitches, outstanding command and an imposing frame (6-6). McGuire was recognized as this season's Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year ahead of several other very strong pitchers in the league, which is a credit to his success.

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Deck McGuire
Pitcher, Georgia Tech

Bats: L | Throws: R | AVG: .348 | H: 72
R: 48 | HR: 21 | RBI: 74

Tommy Mendonca is best known for his heroics in last year's College World Series, in which he hit four home runs and was named the Most Outstanding Player in helping to make Fresno State the lowest-seeded team in any sport to ever win an NCAA Championship. He certainly did nothing to hurt his reputation with an impressive junior campaign. Mendonca displayed a strong power stroke to all fields in a season in which he led the Western Athletic Conference with 24 home runs, good for a tie for fourth in the nation. He is a premier Draft-eligible talent at third base this year and will likely be selected early on.

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Tommy Mendonca
Third Baseman, Fresno State

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .354 | H: 69
R: 52 | HR: 17 | RBI: 62

Recently ranked the No. 2 draft-eligible college catcher by Baseball America, Josh Phegley was second nationwide in batting average for Division I players during his sophomore season last year. Returning for his third season at Indiana, Phegley again had a fantastic season at the plate, tying for the league home-run crown with 17. He covered the conference leader lists for most other categories, such as his second-place finish in RBIs (63) or fourth-place finish in total bases (131). Phegley was recognized as an All-Big 10 Conference First Team performer. He is a very attractive prospective draftee for Major League teams, and if he's played his last regular season game as a Hoosier, he leaves behind a very difficult void to fill in Indiana's 2010 lineup.

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Josh Phegley
Catcher, Indiana

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .379 | H: 81
R: 63 | HR: 22 | RBI: 77

Rich Poythress is a pure hitter who offers outstanding power and excellent plate discipline. Despite his power stroke, he has managed to walk more times than he has struck out for the second season in a row, an impressive feat. Poythress' bat is bettered by no one in the entire draft class, on par with the other top sluggers in college baseball. Poythress was named to the 2009 All-Southeastern Conference First Team, despite being a relative unknown before the season began. He's shown this spring that overlooking him was quite a mistake, and it's now very probable that he will be drafted in the first round in June.

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Rich Poythress
First Baseman, Georgia

Bats: | Throws: | AVG: .312 | H: 59
R: 39 | HR: 1 | RBI: 20

Brooks Raley has been successful on over 80 percent of his steal attempts, and runs a 6.6 on the 60-yard dash to go along with a batting average well over .300 and an on-base percentage well over .400. He also offers gap power to go with an on-base clip that has hovered well above .400 throughout the season. Despite the headaches he gives opponents at the plate and on the bases, most scouts believe Raley has even greater potential on the mound. In the 2009 regular season, he went 7-2 with a 3.09 and more strikeouts (92) than innings pitched (90.1). His combination of four pitches and impeccable command has helped him strike out more than a batter per inning this season against tough competition, and it's safe to say Raley has pitched and hit his way into a well-deserved spotlight. Raley earned All-Big 12 First Team honors as a two-way player this season.

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Brooks Raley
Outfielder/Pitcher, Texas A&M

Bats: L | Throws: R | W: 0 | L: 0
ERA: 0.37 | K: 34 | BB: 6 | IP: 24.3

Once a slugging first baseman, Addison Reed was moved as a freshman to the bullpen, where he has flourished as a dominant closer. The nationwide leader in saves (17), Reed has been a force this year, surrendering just a single earned run in 24 1/3 innings. He has not blown any save opportunities, and his K-to-BB ratio of 34-to-6 screams dominance. While power-hitting first basemen are great assets as well, head coach and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has to be happy to have a pitcher at the back end of his bullpen who effectively shortens every game in the Aztecs' favor. Reed was named to the All-Mountain West Conference First Team.

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Addison Reed
Pitcher, San Diego State

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .383 | H: 77
R: 48 | HR: 21 | RBI: 58

Anthony Rendon, the sole freshman semifinalist for the 2009 Golden Spikes Award, has certainly made his a name that won't soon be forgotten by college baseball fans and scouts alike. Rendon finished second across Conference USA in batting average (.383), seventh in on-base percentage (.455), and first in slugging percentage (.701). His 17 home runs were just one shy of the conference lead, and his 141 total bases topped all but two other players. Rendon became the first player in Conferenca USA history to win both Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors in the same season, an impressive feat. Needless to say, Rendon's production was exemplary, even before considering the age at which he stepped in as an everyday middle-of-the-order run producer for the Owls.

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Anthony Rendon
Third Baseman, Rice

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .353 | H: 71
R: 59 | HR: 17 | RBI: 47

Tony Sanchez, the top-rated catcher in the 2009 Draft according to Baseball America, emerged as a premier player during his junior season. He built his 2009 success off of a great sophomore season in which he started every game at catcher and led the Eagles in virtually all offensive categories. His defense, intelligence and strong arm are all great qualities behind the plate, but his bat may be even more impressive. He was all over Atlantic Coast Conference leader lists, including placing seventh in total bases (130) in a conference with plenty of strong bats. Sanchez was named to the All-ACC First Team and is likely to be selected very early in June's draft.

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Tony Sanchez
Catcher, Boston College

Bats: L | Throws: R | AVG: .367 | H: 76
R: 65 | HR: 24 | RBI: 63

Angelo Songco offers plus power from the left side of the plate without abandoning his ability to make contact. In terrorizing West Coast Conference pitching all spring, he's been a triple threat, placing fifth in conference-wide batting average (.367), first in on-base percentage (.488) and second in slugging percentage (.691). Additionally, Songco led the conference in runs scored (65) and finished second in both home runs (15) and RBIs (63). His bat has certainly drawn the attention of many this season, and he should be prepared for a phone call early on Draft day.

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Angelo Songco
Outfielder, Loyola Marymount

Bats: R | Throws: R | W: 7 | L: 3
ERA: 3.37 | K: 88 | BB: 32 | IP: 82.2

Alex White's fastball touches 94, he throws a filthy slider, and he also features a solid curveball and changeup. Add to that broad repertoire a prototypical pitcher's body and strong performance in his junior season for one of the top teams in the country, and the result is a great pitcher who is expected to be drafted early in the first round. Alex earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team honors for his 2009 season.

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Alex White
Pitcher, North Carolina

Bats: L | Throws: R | W: 9 | L: 1
ERA: 2.58 | K: 122 | BB: 44 | IP: 94.1

Alex Wimmers was the go-to option in the Buckeyes' bullpen as a freshman in 2008, leading the team in strikeout rate. Returning as a sophomore for the 2009 season, Wimmers won the Saturday starter job and ran with it. He led the entire Big 10 Conference in earned run average (2.58), opponents batting average (.197) and strikeouts (122). Additionally, he allowed the third-fewest hits (66) of all conference qualifiers despite pitching the second-most innings in the Big Ten. Wimmers no-hit Michigan on May 2, striking out 14 in the process. He became the ninth pitcher in Ohio State history to strike out 100 batters in a season, as well as the ninth to throw a no-hitter, though his was the first nine-inning no-hitter in the program's 126-year history. Wimmers' dominance earned him Co-Big 10 Conference Pitcher of the Year honors.

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Alex Wimmers
Pitcher, Ohio State

Bats: R | Throws: R | AVG: .375 | H: 69
R: 45 | HR: 17 | RBI: 56

J.T. Wise, an Oklahoma senior, put together a great season for the Sooners mostly playing catcher. Following a second summer with Harwich of the prestigious Cape Cod League, Wise returned this spring to swat 17 home runs and drive in 56 runs while flirting with a .400 batting average throughout the season. Wise's great year pushed the Sooners to a second-place Big 12 finish and a 40-16 regular-season record, the best record at the school in two decades. Wise was recognized as the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year following his impressive production.

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J.T. Wise
Catcher/Infielder, Oklahoma