DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball released its 60-man preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Friday, launching the organization's journey to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country on July 17. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, the Golden Spikes Award will be presented in 2014 for the 37th time.
The watch list features 60 of the nation's top amateur players, and will be a "rolling" list until May 27 -- when the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are announced -- ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the collegiate and high school seasons.
"USA Baseball is excited to present the Golden Spikes Award for the 37th time in 2014," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's executive director/CEO. "With two former finalists on the preseason watch list, we look forward to a competitive year across all levels of amateur baseball."
Headlining the 2014 watch list are the athletes that were previously finalists for the award. NC State left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon was a finalist for the award in 2012 as a freshman, while Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede was a finalist in 2013.
In addition to the former finalists, five athletes return to the list after being named semifinalists in 2013: David Berg (RHP, Junior, UCLA), Alex Bregman (IF, Sophomore, LSU), Thomas Eshelman (RHP, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton), Aaron Nola (RHP, Junior, LSU) and Trea Turner (IF, Junior, NC State).
The Southeastern Conference leads all conferences with 13 players named to the watch list. The Pac-12 has 10 players named to the list, while the Atlantic Coast and Big West have eight and six representatives. Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State lead all schools with four representatives each.
Also appearing on the list are seven non-NCAA Division I athletes. Three NCAA Division II athletes appear on the preseason list, headlined by Minnesota State-Mankato's Jason Hoppe. Hoppe set the NCAA all-division record for consecutive scoreless innings in 2013 when he fired 55.1 consecutive shutout frames. Also on the list is reigning NCAA Division III pitcher of the year, Linfield's Chris Haddeland, who was named the most valuable player of the 2013 NCAA Division III baseball championship. A trio of high school seniors round out the non-Division I nominations to the list. Bryce Harper (2010) and Alex Fernandez (1990) are the only two non-D1 winners of the award.
On April 10, USA Baseball will release its 50-man midseason watch list, shaped by USA Baseball staff and its committee of amateur baseball experts and media. On May 27, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2014 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 36 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 2014. May 27 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.
Last year, San Diego infielder Kris Bryant took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
Other winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Jim Abbott (1987), Robin Ventura (1988), Ben McDonald (1989), Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Mark Prior (2001), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006) and David Price (2007).
|Skye Bolt||OF||SO||North Carolina|
|Ryan Burr||RHP||SO||Arizona State|
|Matt Chapman||IF||JR||Cal State Fullerton|
|Michael Cederoth||RHP||JR||San Diego State|
|Michael Conforto||OF||JR||Oregon State|
|J.D. Davis||OF/RHP||JR||Cal State Fullerton|
|Dylan Davis||OF||JR||Oregon State|
|Brannon Easterling||RHP||JR||St. Edward's|
|Thomas Eshelman||RHP||SO||Cal State Fullerton|
|Jack Flaherty||IF/RHP||SR||Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) HS|
|Justin Garza||RHP||SO||Cal State Fullerton|
|Michael Gettys||OF||SR||Gainesville (Ga.) HS|
|Casey Gillaspie||IF||JR||Wichita State|
|Grayson Greiner||C||JR||South Carolina|
|Jeff Hoffman||RHP||JR||East Carolina|
|Jonathan Holder||RHP||JR||Mississippi State|
|Jason Hoppe||RHP||SR||Minnesota State-Mankato|
|Matt Imhof||LHP||JR||Cal Poly|
|Alex Jackson||C||SR||Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) HS|
|Ryan Kellogg||LHP||SO||Arizona State|
|Ross Kivett||IF||SR||Kansas State|
|Daniel Mengden||RHP/C||JR||Texas A&M|
|Andrew Moore||RHP||SO||Oregon State|
|Harrison Musgrave||LHP||JR||West Virginia|
|Joey Pankake||IF||JR||South Carolina|
|Max Pentecost||C||JR||Kennesaw State|
|Carlos Rodon||LHP||JR||NC State|
|Nick Sell||IF||JR||Seton Hill|
|Taylor Sparks||IF||JR||UC Irvine|
|D.J. Stewart||OF||SO||Florida State|
|Trent Thornton||RHP||SO||North Carolina|
|Trea Turner||IF||JR||NC State|
|Luke Weaver||RHP||SO||Florida State|
|Ben Wetzler||LHP||SR||Oregon State|
|Bradley Zimmer||OF||JR||San Francisco|