DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball unveiled the 25 semifinalists for the 40th USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. The Golden Spikes Award is given to the top amateur baseball player in the United States and is presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.
The Atlantic Coast Conference leads 10 different NCAA conferences represented on the list with six semifinalists, followed closely by the Pac-12 Conference with five and the Southeastern Conference with four. The Big 10 and Big 12 conferences both host a pair of semifinalists while the Big West, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Southern and Sun Belt conferences each have one athlete on the list.
Also represented in the list of semifinalists is the College of Central Florida in the National Junior College Athletic Association with right-handed pitcher Nate Pearson.
Louisville, Oregon State and Virginia are the only schools with multiple Golden Spikes Award semifinalists in 2017 with two apiece, including Cardinals pitcher and infielder, and three-time semifinalist, Brendan McKay. Missouri State infielder Jake Burger is also a semifinalist for the second year in a row.
The list includes several NCAA Division I statistical leaders including UC Irvine outfielder Keston Hiura, who leads the nation in on-base percentage. Mississippi State's Brent Rooker leads the nation in slugging percentage and is tied with Arizona infielder J.J. Matijevic for the most doubles this season. Luke Heimlich of Oregon State leads the country with a 0.81 ERA and The Citadel's JP Sears leads the nation in strikeouts (142), followed closely by David Peterson (140) from Oregon.
USA Baseball officials will announce the finalists for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday, June 14. To select the finalists, the list of semifinalists is sent to a voting body consisting of past Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and select current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total. As part of the selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of semifinalists. Voting will be open until Friday, June 9.
Fan voting will once again be part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2017. This announcement officially marks the opening of voting for amateur baseball fans from across the country on GoldenSpikesAward.com - the online home of the award, powered by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM).
The live presentation of the 2017 Golden Spikes Award will be announced exclusively on ESPN's flagship program, SportsCenter, on Thursday, June 29. The announcement will take place in ESPN's Los Angeles Production Center at L.A. Live.
The finalists and their families will be also honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Awards Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club Los Angeles.
USA Baseball recently announced a ten-year partnership extension with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation that provides the marketing and sponsorship rights surrounding the Golden Spikes Award to fund its mission to support youth baseball and softball programs in underprivileged areas.
Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis took home the prestigious award in 2016, joining a group of recent winners that includes Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
The remaining timeline for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award announcement is as follows:
Friday, June 9: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalist voting ends
Wednesday, June 14: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins
Friday, June 23: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
Thursday, June 29: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
The complete 2017 Golden Spikes Award semifinalist list is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School
Jake Adams, Jr., IF, Iowa
J.B. Bukauskas, Jr., RHP, North Carolina
Jake Burger, Jr., IF, Missouri State
Griffin Canning, Jr., RHP, UCLA
Morgan Cooper, Jr., RHP, Texas
Greg Deichmann, Jr., OF, LSU
Drew Ellis, Jr., IF, Louisville
Alex Faedo, Jr., RHP, Florida
Stuart Fairchild, Jr., OF, Wake Forest
Steven Gingery, So., LHP, Texas Tech
Nate Harris, Sr., RHP, Louisiana Tech
Adam Haseley, Jr., LHP/OF, Virginia
Luke Heimlich, Jr., LHP, Oregon State
Keston Hiura, Jr., IF/OF, UC Irvine
Gunner Leger, Jr., LHP, Louisiana Lafayette
Nick Madrigal, So., IF, Oregon State
J.J. Matijevic, Jr., IF, Arizona
Brendan McKay, Jr., LHP/IF, Louisville
Nate Pearson, So., RHP, College of Central Florida
David Peterson, Jr., LHP, Oregon
Brent Rooker, Jr., OF, Mississippi State
JP Sears, Jr., LHP, The Citadel
Brian Shaffer, Jr., RHP, Maryland
Pavin Smith, Jr., IF/OF, Virginia
Evan White, Jr., IF, Kentucky