FAYETTEVILE, Ark. – Arkansas sophomore outfielder Andrew Benintendi is one of 30 players named to the final watch list for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, which recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the county.
The Southeastern Conference has a nation-leading seven candidates up for the award, while Benintendi is one of nine new players added to the watch list. The list was trimmed in half from the 60-man watch list released on April 9.
The draft eligible sophomore has emerged as one of the best players in the country, ranking second in the nation with 15 home runs on the year. Benintendi is one of two players in the country with double-digit home runs and 20-plus stolen bases and became the first player in Arkansas baseball history to hit 15 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.
Benintendi is vying to become just the second Triple Crown winner in SEC history, leading the league in batting average (.386) and home runs (15), while sitting four RBI’s behind the conference leader with 46 on the year. Mississippi State’s Rafael Palmeiro is the only player to win the Triple Crown in the 81-year history of the SEC, capturing the title in 1984, before going on to a 20-year career in Major League Baseball.
The Cincinnati, Ohio native has taken the nation by storm with power, consistency and speed. He leads the SEC with a .729 slugging percentage and .386 batting average, while stealing 20 bases on the year, including eight over the last 10 games. He has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games, with hits in 18 of those 20 contests.
On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. 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 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. Friday, May 22, marks the day when amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list. On Tuesday, June 2, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.
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, welcoming Tennessee to town for a three-game series at Baum Stadium.
- Is the first player in school history with 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
- Is one of only two players in the country with 10+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases.
- Is the NCAA leader with 15 home runs on the year.
- Leads the SEC by 82 points with a .729 slugging percentage.
- Ranks fifth in the SEC with 46 RBI on the year (3 behind leader).
- Had a span of four home runs in six plate appearances against Mississippi Valley State and Kentucky.
- Has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games.
- Has reached base in 23 of his last 33 plate appearances.
- Has at least one hit in 18 of the last 20 games.
- Leads the SEC with a .386 batting average.
- His .386 batting average would be the highest since 2011 when Zack Cox set the school record at .429.
- Ranks second in the SEC with a .488 on base percentage.
- Has 22 multi-hit games and 16 multi-RBI games this season.
- Ranks third in the SEC with 20 stolen bases on the year.
- Has eight stolen bases over the last 10 games.
- Leads the SEC with 121 total bases.
- Ranks third in the SEC with 48 runs scored. (Led team with 45 runs scored all of last year)
What People Are Saying
“To me it’s a no brainer, he’s outplayed the entire league and is the SEC Player of the Year.” – Chris Burke (ESPN Analyst and 2001 SEC Player of the Year)
“There are only a few hitters in the SEC you have to game plan for and Benintendi leads that list.” – Tom Hart (ESPN Analyst)
“He’s the SEC Player of the Year and it’s not even close.” – Dave Perno (SEC Network Analyst)
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