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.
Stetson junior pitcher Mitchell Senger became just the third Hatters player to be named to the preseason watch list for the top award in college baseball. He joins with Logan Gilbert, who was selected in 2018, and Patrick Mazeika, who was named to the preseason list in 2014.
Senger, who posted a 9-2 record last spring as a sophomore with a 2.51 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 93.1 innings of work, enters his junior season after having spent the summer splitting time between USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team and the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League.
Senger was the only player from the ASUN named to the preseason watch list.
He is expected to be on the mound for the Hatters next Friday for the season-opener when Stetson hosts Virginia Tech from the ACC in the RyCass Classic at 7 p.m. The season will officially start at Melching Field at 1 p.m. when Sam Houston State squares off against Manhattan in the tournament opener.
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.
The 2019 Golden Spikes Award timeline:
- April 10: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
- May 15: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, voting begins
- May 26: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
- May 29: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins
- June 10: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
- June 14: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
Kevin Abel, RHP, So., Oregon State, Pac-12 Conference
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, Great Midwest 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 Conference
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
About 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 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner was Andrew Vaughn from the University of California Berkeley. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Brendan McKay ('17), Kyle Lewis ('16), Andrew Benintendi ('15), Kris Bryant ('13), Mike Zunino ('12), Trevor Bauer ('11), Bryce Harper ('10), Stephen Strasburg ('09), Buster Posey ('08), David Price ('07) and Alex Gordon ('05). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Tim Lincecum ('06), Pat Burrell ('98), Mark Kotsay ('95), 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. Fans can follow the Golden Spikes Award on Twitter @USAGoldenSpikes.
About Rod Dedeaux Foundation: The Rod Dedeaux Foundation was formed to continue Rod's spirit by supporting youth baseball and softball programs in underserved areas. Currently, inner city organizations are fighting for survival as public funding is drying up, coupled with the game's waning popularity with children in Urban areas. Through the efforts of the Foundation, youth receive more than just uniforms and renovated facilities, they receive a sanctuary from challenging environments and a support system specifically designed to build character and academic support to enable underprivileged youth to achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit DedeauxFoundation.org.
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 and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, Premier12 and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women's National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. The organization is responsible for the continued proliferation and health of the sport, and leads a number of amateur initiatives including PLAYBALL and Pitch Smart. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit the organization's official websites: USABaseball.com, PLAYBALL.org, PitchSmart.org, SportDev.org, GoldenSpikesAward.com and USABaseballShop.com.
About Stetson University Athletics: Stetson University's Athletics Program has a vision of developing a culture of champions athletically, academically and within the community. This vision is accomplished through a mission of recruiting and developing student-athletes, coaches and staff, creating a culture of champions, within and outside of competition. The department operates with five core values: Championship Culture, Integrity, Excellence, Pride/Tradition and Leadership. To learn more about the Vision, Mission and Core Values for Stetson Athletics, visit GoHatters.com and click on Mission Statement under the Inside Athletics tab.