Below is the press release from our partners USA Baseball, announcing the four Golden Spikes Award winners.
USA BASEBALL ANNOUNCE BENINTENDI, BEGMAN, FULMER AND SWANSON
AS FINALISTS FOR 2015 GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD
The award will be presented to this year’s winner on Tuesday, June 23
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball unveiled on Tuesday the four finalists for the 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. This year, the award, which is sponsored by Major League Baseball and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, will be presented to the nation’s top amateur baseball player for the 38th consecutive season.
Please click HERE to watch the finalist selection show.
Of the 21 semifinalists that were voted on by a committee of more than 200 voters, Andrew Benintendi, an outfielder from Arkansas, Alex Bregman, a shortstop from Louisiana State, Carson Fulmer, a right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt, and Dansby Swanson, a shortstop from Vanderbilt, received the most votes and were named finalists for the award.
Over the weekend, all three teams competed in NCAA regionals. Arkansas swept their opponents in Stillwater to advance to the Super Regional round. LSU and Vanderbilt will play for their respective Regional finals today to determine their fate in the NCAA tournament.
As a result of their standout collegiate careers, all four finalists are expected to be selected in the first round of Major League Baseball’s Draft on June 8.
Fans can continue to stay up to date on the GSA by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com -- powered by MLB Advanced Media -- which serves as the online home for the award. The website features content devoted exclusively to the GSA, including news, voting history, past winner photo galleries and photographs and video highlights of the 2015 finalists.
Benintendi was voted a 2015 Golden Spikes Award finalists after an SEC Conference-leading season. The sophomore leads the conference in batting average (.397), slugging percentage (.737), on-base percentage (.498), home runs (18), and walks (42). Beyond conference play, he also ranks third in the nation in home runs and slugging percentage. His speed compliments his power, as he is one of only two players in the country with over 15 home runs and 20-plus stolen bases. He ranks second in the SEC for total bases (154) and fifth for stolen bases (22). As a result of his stellar season, Benintendi is the first player in Razorback baseball history to earn National Player of the Year and SEC Player of the Year honors.
Bregman was voted a 2015 Golden Spikes Award finalist after an impressive season at the plate and in the field. His bat led the way for LSU’s offense throughout the 2015 season, posting a batting average of .323 and slugging percentage of .557. He led the Tigers in runs scored (55), and walks (36), and finished the season with a .420 on-base percentage. The junior also leads the SEC conference in stolen bases (34) and doubles (22). In the field, his solid defensive work at shortstop ranks him first in the conference with 206 assists. In his debut season with LSU, Bregman earned 2013 Freshman of the Year honors and the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award, which he is also a candidate for this year. He is a four-time USA Baseball National Team alum, as well as a First-Team All-SEC and First-Team All-American selection.
Fulmer was voted a 2015 Golden Spikes Award finalist after dominating the SEC on the mound. The junior leads the conference in many categories including ERA (1.92), strikeouts (147), wins (12), and opponent’s batting average (.186). In addition to leading the conference, he ranks second in the nation for strikeouts and wins. Fulmer finished the regular season as the only SEC pitcher with an ERA below 2.00 and 100-plus strike outs. Among many stand out performances, he pitched two shutouts in the regular season, helping the Commodores to a 44-19 overall record. He was named the 2015 SEC Pitcher of the Year in addition to earning Collegiate Baseball’s First-Team All-American honors. Fulmer was also a two-time USA Baseball National Team selection and a member of Vanderbilt’s 2014 National Championship team.
Swanson was voted a 2015 Golden Spikes Award finalist after leading Vanderbilt to another standout season. The Marietta, Ga., native leads the SEC in runs scored (69), hits (85), and total bases (160). He ranks second among the conference’s hitters in slugging percentage (.658) and RBIs (60). Swanson has also recorded 21 doubles, six triples, and 14 home runs, and leads the Commodore’s offense with a .350 batting average. He has logged 41 walks, helping him to a .442 on-base percentage and is 15-17 in stolen base attempts. He is a force at shortstop, with a fielding percentage of .974 and is a candidate for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award. Swanson also competed on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer and was a member of Vanderbilt’s 2014 National Championship team. This season, his performances earned him Second-Team All SEC and Second-Team All-American honors.
The four players were named finalists after receiving the most votes during the semifinalist balloting round. During that round, 22 student-athletes received votes, including Willie Calhoun (Yavapai College), Will Craig (Wake Forest), and Michael Freeman (Oklahoma State) who tallied votes through the voting committee’s write-in option. After the four finalists, North Florida’s Donnie Dewees finished fourth in voting, followed by David Berg (UCLA), David Thompson (Miami), Tyler Jay (Illinois), and Thomas Eshelman (Cal State Fullerton).
The award presentation will air on ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter for the second consecutive year. Following the announcement of the award on June 23, all four finalists will be celebrated at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles as part of the 2015 Rod Dedeaux Award Dinner. Hosted by the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the dinner will honor the Golden Spikes Award finalists, the Rod Dedeaux Award winner and the Rod Dedeaux USA Baseball Coach of the Year award winner.
In 2007, USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball, and it follows the same model again in 2015. After working closely with sports information directors and amateur baseball media across the country to determine watch lists and the top-performing athletes, a list of 21 semifinalists was sent to the GSA voting committee last week. The four players that received the most votes advanced to the finalist round, and beginning today, the committee will have the opportunity to vote for the winner.
Fans will once again be able to vote for the 2015 award by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com and selecting their favorite finalist. Voting for fans and the voting body ends at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, June 12.
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 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner was A.J. Reed of the University of Kentucky. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Kris Bryant (’13), Mike Zunino (’12), Trevor Bauer (’11), Bryce Harper (’10), Stephen Strasburg ('09), Buster Posey ('08), David Price (’07), Tim Lincecum (’06), Alex Gordon (’05), Jered Weaver (’04), 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. Fans can follow the Golden Spikes Award on Twitter @USAGoldenSpikes.
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, World Cup 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. 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.