FAYETTEVILE, Ark. – Arkansas sophomore outfielder Andrew Benintendi is one of 21 players named as a semifinalist for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, which recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the county.
Benintendi, recently named the first SEC Player of the Year in program history, is one of four semifinalists from the Southeastern Conference, joining Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson and LSU’s Alex Bregman on the 21-player list.
The draft eligible sophomore has emerged as one of the best players in the country, ranking second in the nation with 18 home runs on the year. Benintendi is one of two players in the country to rank in the top 15 in the nation in home runs and batting average.
The Cincinnati native continues to put up ridiculous numbers in the best baseball conference in the country, leading the SEC in home runs (18), batting average (.395), slugging percentage (.745), on base percentage (.494) and total bases (149) through Thursday’s round of the SEC Tournament.
Benintendi finished the regular season just five RBI’s short of becoming the second Triple Crown winner in SEC history and is on the verge of becoming the third player in league history to finish the year as the leader in home runs and batting average. He is the first player in Arkansas’ storied program with 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season and the only power five conference player to accomplish the feat this season.
The list of 21 semifinalists will now 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 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2015. This announcement officially marks the opening of voting for amateur baseball fans from across the country on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of names. Voting will be open until Friday, May 29.
The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on Tuesday, June 23, 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.
Last year, University of Kentucky’s two-way star, A.J. Reed, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
GoldenSpikesAward.com — created in 2008 and powered by MLB Advanced Media — is the online home for the award. The website features content devoted exclusively to the GSA, including news, the weekly Golden Spikes Award spotlight, voting history and past winner photo galleries.
Benintendi and the Razorbacks return to action Friday evening, taking on seventh-ranked and No. 4 seed Florida at 6:30 p.m. in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
- Is the first player in program history to earn SEC Player of the Year.
- Is the first player in school history with at least 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.
- Is one of only two players in the country to rank in the top 15 in home runs and batting average.
- He is on the verge of becoming the third player in SEC history to finish the season leading the league in home runs and batting average.
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