USA Baseball announced its preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List on Thursday, marking the organization's first step toward identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, the Golden Spikes Award will be presented in 2011 for the 34th time.

The Watch List features 50 of the nation's top amateur players, and it will be a "rolling" list to ensure that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the Golden Spikes Award, to be presented on Friday, July 15.

Headlining the 2011 Watch List are 10 athletes who were among the 30 semifinalists for the 2010 Golden Spikes Award. Those players are Trevor Bauer (RHP, Junior, UCLA), Cole Green (RHP/OF, Senior, Texas), Paul Hoilman (RHP/IF, Senior, East Tennessee State), Danny Hultzen (LHP/IF, Junior, Virginia), Taylor Jungmann (RHP, Junior, Texas), Zack MacPhee (IF, Junior, Arizona State), Mike McGee (RHP/OF, Senior, Florida State), Anthony Meo (RHP, Junior, Coastal Carolina), Anthony Rendon (IF, Junior, Rice) and John Stilson (RHP/IF, Junior, Texas A&M).

"It is our pleasure to announce the 50 members of the preseason Watch List for the 2011 Golden Spikes Award," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "Last season provided us with an extremely deep pool of candidates from which to choose, and with one-third of the 2010 semifinalists being named to the 2011 preseason watch list, we look forward to another year of excellent performances."

Arizona State and Vanderbilt lead all schools with three players named to the Watch List. Ten schools are tied for second with two players named. For the second year in a row, the Southeastern Conference tops all conferences with nine Watch List players. The Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-10 Conference each have eight. Juniors make up the majority of the list with 38 players named, up from 35 in 2010. Sophomores and seniors are each represented by six players on the list.

Following the release of a second, 60-player Watch List to be named on Tuesday, May 3, USA Baseball officials will announce to the 30 semifinalists for the 2011 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 31. The list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of select professional baseball personnel, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of nearly 200 voters in total.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2011. Tuesday, May 31, marks the day when college baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite player for the Golden Spikes Award on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of 30 names. On Tuesday, June 7, USA Baseball will announce the three finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

The 2011 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award will be presented nationally on an awards show on July 15.

Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada was the recipient of the 2010 Golden Spikes Award. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft to the Washington Nationals was the first junior college player since Alex Fernandez (Miami Dade Community College; now Miami Dade College) in 1990 to win the award.

Other past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Mark Prior (2001), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006), David Price (2007), Buster Posey (2008) and Stephen Strasburg (2009).

2011 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Important Dates

Thursday, Feb. 17 - 50-man preseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials, advisors and college SIDs
Tuesday, May 3 - 60-man midseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials, advisors and college SIDs
Tuesday, May 31 - 30 semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters select five
Friday, June 3 - Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 7 - Five finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
Friday, June 17 - Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
Friday, July 15 - Golden Spikes Award presentation

The complete 2011 Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference (in order of name)

Tyler Anderson, LHP, Junior, Oregon, Pac-10
Jeremy Baltz, OF, Sophomore, St. John's, Big East
Matt Barnes, RHP, Junior, Connecticut, Big East
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac-10
Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, Junior, South Carolina, SEC
Jed Bradley, LHP, Junior, Georgia Tech, ACC
Adam Bryant, IF, Senior, Troy, Sun Belt
Garrett Buechele, IF, Junior, Oklahoma, Big 12
Jason Coats, OF, Junior, Texas Christian, Mountain West
Gerrit Cole, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac-10
Zach Cone, OF, Junior, Georgia, SEC
C.J. Cron, C, Junior, Utah, Mountain West
Alex Dickerson, OF, Junior, Indiana, Big Ten
Kenny Diekroeger, IF, Sophomore, Stanford, Pac-10
Jason Esposito, IF, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Junior, Florida State, ACC
Sonny Gray, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Cole Green, RHP/OF, Senior, Texas, Big 12
Paul Hoilman, RHP/IF, Senior, East Tennessee State, Atlantic Sun
Danny Hultzen, LHP/IF, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Brian Johnson, LHP/IF, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Junior, Texas, Big 12
Zack MacPhee, IF, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-10
Mikie Mahtook, OF, Junior, Louisiana State, SEC
Deven Marrero, IF, Sophomore, Arizona State, Pac-10
Harold Martinez, IF, Junior, Miami (Fla.), ACC
Nick Martini, OF, Junior, Kansas State, Big 12
Mike McGee, RHP/OF, Senior, Florida State, ACC
Anthony Meo, RHP, Junior, Coastal Carolina, Big South
Levi Michael, IF, Junior, North Carolina, ACC
Brad Miller, IF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Peter O'Brien, C, Junior, Bethune-Cookman, MEAC
Ricky Oropesa, IF, Junior, Southern California, Pac-10
Matt Price, RHP, RS Sophomore, South Carolina, SEC
Matt Purke, LHP, Sophomore, Texas Christian, Mountain West
Nick Ramirez, IF/LHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Noe Ramirez, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Anthony Rendon, IF, Junior, Rice, C-USA
Jordan Ribera, IF, Senior, Fresno State, WAC
John Ruettiger, OF, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-10
Jeff Schaus, OF, Senior, Clemson, ACC
George Springer, OF, Junior, Connecticut, Big East
John Stilson, RHP/IF, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12
Preston Tucker, IF, Junior, Florida, SEC
Logan Verrett, RHP, Junior, Baylor, Big 12
B.A. Vollmuth, IF, Junior, Southern Mississippi, C-USA
Aaron Westlake, IF/C, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Kolten Wong, IF, Junior, Hawaii, WAC
Ryan Wright, IF, Junior, Louisville, Big East
Tony Zych, RHP, Junior, Louisville, Big East