DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2019 season. The 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 14.
The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation's top amateur players, from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.
Headlining the 2019 watch list is the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner, Andrew Vaughn (California). Vaughn joins Jim Abbott, Mark Kotsay, and Kip Bouknight as the only Golden Spikes Award recipients who returned to school after winning the award.
In addition to Vaughn, four 2018 Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are also featured on the preseason watch list in Kyle Brnovich (Elon), Josh Jung (Texas Tech), Kevin Strohschein (Tennessee Tech) and Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State), and five additional athletes have been named to the preseason watch list previously. Jake Mangum (Mississippi State) has been named to the preseason watch list for the third consecutive year and is joined by Zack Hess (LSU), Shea Langeliers (Baylor), Drew Mendoza (Florida State) and Matt Wallner (Southern Miss), who have been recognized for the second straight year.
"We are pleased to announce the fifty-five athletes who have been selected to the Preseason Watch List for the forty-second annual Golden Spikes Award," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "The athletes who make up this year's initial watch list span multiple schools and divisions of amateur baseball and, for the first time since 2001, includes the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner. The 2019 season looks to be highly competitive and we are anxious for the first pitches of the year to get underway."
Five athletes will look to join Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010) as a Golden Spikes Award winner who claimed their respective trophies as a non-NCAA Division I athlete. Cameron Coursey (Georgia Gwinnett) and Dan Valerio (Southeastern) represent the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) on the preseason list, while Kolton Ingram (Columbus State) and Russell Lamovec (Mercyhurst) represent NCAA Division II. Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville High School) is the only amateur high school baseball player recognized by the advisory board on the watch list.
Eighteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the preseason watch list in 2019. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with 13 representatives, while the Pac-12 Conference boasts 10 selections, the Atlantic Coast Conference claims nine and the Big 12 Conference has five. The American Athletic Conference, Colonial Athletic Association and Conference USA are the only other conferences with multiple athletes on the list.
The University of Arkansas leads all schools on the preseason watch list with three selections, while Auburn, Baylor, Elon, Florida, Florida State, NC State, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA each boast a pair of athletes represented as well. In total, 44 different schools are represented on the 2019 preseason watch list.
Last year, Cal's Vaughn took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
Amateur baseball fans will be able to vote for their favorite players at GoldenSpikesAward.com again in 2019, starting on May 15 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. The list of semifinalists will also be sent to a voting body consisting of baseball media members, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and 40 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.
USA Baseball will announce the finalists on May 29 and fan voting will open at GoldenSpikesAward.com concurrently and will remain open through June 10.
The winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be named on Friday, June 14.
USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.
|Kevin Abel||RHP||So.||Oregon State||Pac-12|
|Patrick Bailey||C||So.||NC State||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|J.J. Bleday||OF||Jr.||Vanderbilt||Southeastern Conference|
|Cody Bradford||LHP||Jr.||Baylor||Big 12 Conference|
|Kyle Brnovich||RHP||Jr.||Elon||Colonial Athletic Association|
|Tanner Burns||RHP||So.||Auburn||Southeastern Conference|
|Michael Busch||IF||Jr.||North Carolina||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Matt Canterino||RHP||Jr.||Rice||Conference USA|
|Cameron Coursey||IF||So.||Georgia Gwinnett||Association of Independent Institutions|
|Matt Cronin||LHP||Jr.||Arkansas||Southeastern Conference|
|Wil Dalton||OF||Jr.||Florida||Southeastern Conference|
|Logan Davidson||IF||Jr.||Clemson||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|John Doxakis||LHP||Jr.||Texas A&M||Southeastern Conference|
|Tyler Dyson||RHP||Jr.||Florida||Southeastern Conference|
|Tristin English||RHP/IF||Jr.||Georgia Tech||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Mason Feole||LHP||Jr.||Connecticut||American Athletic Conference|
|Zack Hess||RHP||Jr.||LSU||Southeastern Conference|
|Will Holland||IF||Jr.||Auburn||Southeastern Conference|
|Kolton Ingram||LHP||Sr.||Columbus State||Peach Belt Conference|
|Josh Jung||IF||Jr.||Texas Tech||Big 12 Conference|
|George Kirby||RHP||Jr.||Elon||Colonial Athletic Association|
|Heston Kjerstad||OF||So.||Arkansas||Southeastern Conference|
|Russell Lamovec||RHP||Sr.||Mercyhurst||Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference|
|Shea Langeliers||C||Jr.||Baylor||Big 12 Conference|
|Jack Little||RHP||Jr.||Stanford||Pac-12 Conference|
|Nick Lodolo||LHP||Jr.||TCU||Big 12 Conference|
|Jake Mangum||OF||Sr.||Mississippi State||Southeastern Conference|
|Alek Manoah||RHP||Jr.||West Virginia||Big 12 Conference|
|Casey Martin||IF||So.||Arkansas||Southeastern Conference|
|Drew Mendoza||IF||Jr.||Florida State||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Max Meyer||RHP||So.||Minnesota||Big 10 Conference|
|Kameron Misner||OF||Jr.||Missouri||Southeastern Conference|
|Sean Mooney||RHP||Jr.||St. John's||Big East|
|Bryant Packard||OF||Jr.||East Carolina||American Athletic Conference|
|Andre Pallante||RHP||Jr.||UC Irvine||Big West Conference|
|Drew Parrish||LHP||Jr.||Florida State||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Nick Quintana||IF||Jr.||Arizona||Pac-12 Conference|
|Adley Rutschman||C||Jr.||Oregon State||Pac-12 Conference|
|Mitchell Senger||LHP||Jr.||Stetson||ASUN Conference|
|Noah Song||RHP||Sr.||Navy||Patriot League|
|Graeme Stinson||LHP||Jr.||Duke||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Bryson Stott||IF||Jr.||UNLV||Mountain West Conference|
|Kyle Stowers||OF||Jr.||Stanford||Pac-12 Conference|
|Kevin Strohschein||OF||Sr.||Tennessee Tech||Ohio Valley Conference|
|Chase Strumpf||IF||Jr.||UCLA||Pac-12 Conference|
|Zack Thompson||LHP||Jr.||Kentucky||Southeastern Conference|
|Michael Toglia||IF||Jr.||UCLA||Pac-12 Conference|
|Spencer Torkelson||IF||So.||Arizona State||Pac-12 Conference|
|Dan Valerio||UT||Sr.||Southeastern||The Sun Conference|
|Andrew Vaughn||IF||Jr.||California||Pac-12 Conference|
|Matt Wallner||OF||Jr.||Southern Miss||Conference USA|
|Will Wilson||IF||Jr.||NC State||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Bobby Witt Jr.||SS/RHP||Sr.||Colleyville High School||District 8-5A|
|Logan Wyatt||IF||Jr.||Louisville||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Kenyon Yovan||RHP||Jr.||Oregon||Pac-12 Conference|