Nine Players Named to Golden Spikes Award Watch List

DURHAM, N.C. -- Nine ACC baseball players have been named to the 50-man preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list, announced Tuesday.

The league is represented on the watch list by Clemson’s Chris Okey, Georgia Tech’s Kel Johnson, Louisville’s Kyle Funkhouser, Brendan McKay, and Corey Ray, Miami’s Zack Collins, Virginia’s Connor Jones and Matt Thaiss, and Wake Forest’s Will Craig.

The nine ACC players is the second most from any conference. 

ACC players have previously won the award four times: Georgia Tech’s Jason Varitek (1994), Florida State’s J.D. Drew (1997), Clemson’s Khalil Greene (2002), and Florida State’s Buster Posey (2008).

The preseason watch list features 50 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 athletes, allowing players to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.

Starting on April 11 and ending April 17, fans will be able to nominate their favorite players for the Golden Spikes Award for the first time ever prior to the reveal of Midseason Watch List on April 20. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 38 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

Fan voting will continue to be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2016, starting on June 1 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. Amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. On June 13, USA Baseball will announce the finalists and voting will begin that day and last until June 25.

The winner of the 39th Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 30, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.