(DURHAM, N.C.) — USA Baseball announced its preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List 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 2012 for the 35th 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 award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live at MLB Network’s studios for the second year in a row, with a presentation scheduled for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week, July 9-13 (specific date to be announced). Through USA Baseball’s partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), the presentation will also be simulcast with a live stream available from GoldenSpikesAward.com, MLB.com and USABaseball.com.
Headlining the 2012 watch list are six athletes who finished among the 30 semifinalists for the 2011 Golden Spikes Award. The players include Daniel Aldrich (OF, RS Sophomore, College of Charleston), D.J. Baxendale (RHP, Junior, Arkansas), Adam Brett Walker (OF/C, Junior, Jacksonville), Victor Roache (OF, Junior, Georgia Southern), Michael Roth (LHP/IF, Senior, South Carolina), and Mike Zunino (C, Junior, Florida).
“With only six semifinalists from 2011 on our preseason watch list, 2012 promises to feature a wide-open competition for the Golden Spikes Award,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. “The world of amateur baseball continues to provide us with an increasingly deep pool of talent, and we look forward to watching this year’s race for the award play out.”
Florida leads all schools with seven players named to the watch list, while Arizona State, South Carolina, Stanford, and Texas A&M all have three athletes named. For the third year in a row, the Southeastern Conference tops all conferences with 13 players. The Pac-12 Conference has nine players on the list, while the Atlantic Coast Conference has the third-most with seven. Juniors make up the majority of the list with 31 players named, down from 38 in 2011. Sophomores and seniors are represented by 10 and nine players, respectively.
Following the release of a second, 60-player watch list on Tuesday, May 1, USA Baseball officials will announce the 30 semifinalists for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 29. The list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2012. Tuesday, May 29 marks the day when amateur baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalist 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 5, USA Baseball will announce the three finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.
Beginning with Florida State’s Buster Posey in New York in 2008, USA Baseball partnered with MLBAM to create GoldenSpikesAward.com, and until 2011, streamed its annual presentations online live from MLB All-Star FanFest. Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State won the award in 2009 in St. Louis, and Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada took home the trophy from Anaheim in 2010. UCLA’s Trevor Bauer was the 2011 winner, accepting the trophy as part of a live presentation on “MLB Tonight” in MLB Network’s Studio 42.
Other past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), Rickie Weeks (2003), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006), and David Price (2007).
Important 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:
Thursday, Feb. 16 — 50-man preseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Tuesday, May 1 — 60-man midseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Tuesday, May 29 — 30 semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters select three
Friday, June 1 — Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 5 — Three finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
Friday, June 15 — Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
MLB All-Star Week (July 9-13), Date TBA — Live Golden Spikes Award presentation from MLB Network studios
The complete 2012 Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List is as follows:
NAME, POSITION, CLASS, SCHOOL, CONFERENCE
Daniel Aldrich, OF, RS Sophomore, College of Charleston, SoCon
Mark Appel, RHP, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12
Jeremy Baltz, OF, Junior, St. John’s, Big East
D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Junior, Arkansas, SEC
Chris Beck, RHP, Junior, Georgia Southern, SoCon
Adam Brett Walker, OF/C, Junior, Jacksonville, Atlantic Sun
Tony Bryant, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac-12
Jason Coats, OF, Senior, Texas Christian, Mountain West
Bo Cuthbertson, IF, Senior, Southern Utah, Summit
Joey DeMichele, IF, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-12
Josh Dezse, RHP/IF, Sophomore, Ohio State, Big Ten
Kenny Diekroeger, IF, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12
Taylor Dugas, OF, Senior, Alabama, SEC
Josh Elander, C/OF, Junior, Texas Christian, Mountain West
Kent Emanuel, LHP, Sophomore, North Carolina, ACC
Dylan Floro, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Nolan Fontana, IF, Junior, Florida, SEC
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Sophomore, Lousiana State, SEC
Kurt Heyer, RHP, Junior, Arizona, Pac-12
Travis Jankowski, OF, Junior, Stony Brook, America East
Brian Johnson, LHP/IF, Junior, Florida, SEC
Branden Kline, RHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Corey Knebel, RHP, Sophomore, Texas, Big 12
Austin Kubitza, RHP, Sophomore, Rice, C-USA
Michael Lorenzen, OF, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Austin Maddox, RHP/IF, Junior, Florida, SEC
Deven Marrero, IF, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-12
Hoby Milner, LHP, Junior, Texas, Big 12
Colin Moran, IF, Sophomore, North Carolina, ACC
Tom Murphy, C, Junior, Buffalo, Mid-American
Tyler Naquin, OF, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12
Peter O’Brien, C, Senior, Miami (Fla.), ACC
Stephen Piscotty, IF, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12
Matt Price, RHP, RS Junior, South Carolina, SEC
James Ramsey, OF, Senior, Florida State, ACC
Hudson Randall, RHP, Junior, Florida, SEC
Tyler Ray, RHP, Senior, Troy, Sun Belt
Tony Renda, IF, Junior, California, Pac-12
Victor Roache, OF, Junior, Georgia Southern, SoCon
Brady Rodgers, RHP, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-12
Michael Roth, LHP/IF, Senior, South Carolina, SEC
Richie Shaffer, IF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Ross Stripling, RHP, Senior, Texas A&M, Big 12
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC
Preston Tucker, IF, Senior, Florida, SEC
Michael Wacha, RHP, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12
Christian Walker, IF, Junior, South Carolina, SEC
Karsten Whitson, RHP, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
Brad Zebedis, C/IF, Sophomore, Presbyterian, Big South
Mike Zunino, C, Junior, Florida, SEC
About the Golden Spikes Award
Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2011 Golden Spikes Award winner was Trevor Bauer of UCLA. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Stephen Strasburg (’09), Buster Posey (’08), David Price (’07), Tim Lincecum (’06), Alex Gordon (’05), Jered Weaver (’04) and Rickie Weeks (’03), and Mark Kotsay (’95). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Pat Burrell (’98), Robin Ventura (’88), Jim Abbott (’87), Will Clark (’85), Dave Magadan (’83), Terry Francona (’80), Tim Wallach (’79), and Horner (’78). For more information, please visit GoldenSpikesAward.com.
About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and Pan American teams (and all other USA Baseball professional teams); and the Collegiate, 18U, 15U, and Women’s National Teams, all of which participate in various domestic and international competitions each year. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit USABaseball.com and GoldenSpikesAward.com.