Matt Wallner Named to Golden Spikes Award Watch List
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss sophomore outfielder/pitcher Matt Wallner (Forest Lake, Minn.) earned selection Friday as one of a 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list to honor the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2018 season. The 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented by USA Baseball, in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, June 28, in Los Angeles.
Wallner, who was named Freshman of the Year in 2017 by several national media organizations as well as collecting multiple All-America accolades, is the second Golden Eagle to earn a spot on this list. Former Golden Eagle and current member of the Southern Miss baseball coaching staff, B.A. Vollmuth, earned a spot in 2011. Wallner also is a consensus preseason All-American heading into the 2018 campaign.
The preseason watch list features 55 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 players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.
“We are excited to kick off the forty-first year of the Golden Spikes Award with the announcement of 55 preseason watch list nominees,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “We are anxiously awaiting the start of baseball season and we are excited to follow these players closely during the course of the season before ultimately recognizing one exemplary athlete to join the remarkable group of winners we have had in our history.”
Starting on March 26 and ending April 1, fans will be able to nominate their favorite players for the Golden Spikes Award prior to the reveal of the midseason watch list on April 10. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting baseball media members, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 40 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.
Amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite players at GoldenSpikesAward.com again in 2018, starting on May 21 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. On June 6, USA Baseball will announce the finalists and voting will begin that day and last until June 22.
The winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 28, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club.
USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.
Last year, Louisville’s Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
The 2018 Golden Spikes Award timeline:
- Monday, March 26: Golden Spikes Award fan nominations begin
- Sunday, April 1: Golden Spikes Award fan nominations end
- Tuesday, April 10: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
- Monday, May 21: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, voting begins
- Sunday, June 3: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
- Wednesday, June 6: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins
- Friday, June 22: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
- Thursday, June 28: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
Chris Acosta-Tapia, OF, Sr., Oklahoma Wesleyan, Kansas Collegiate
Johnny Aiello, 3B, Jr., Wake Forest, ACC
D.J. Artis, OF, Jr., Liberty, Big South
Luken Baker, 1B/DH, Jr., TCU, Big 12
Joey Bart, C, Jr., Georgia Tech, ACC
Seth Beer, 1B/OF, Jr., Clemson, ACC
Alec Bohm, 3B, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic
Kris Bubic, LHP, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12
Michael Byrne, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Tim Cate, LHP, Jr., UCONN, American Athletic
Griffin Conine, OF, Jr., Duke, ACC
Trey Cumbie, LHP, Jr., Houston, American Athletic
Gianluca Dalatri, RHP, So., North Carolina, ACC
Tanner Dodson, UT, Jr., California, Pac-12
Colton Eastman, RHP, Jr., Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Jeremy Eierman, SS, Jr., Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Tyler Frank, SS, Jr., Florida Atlantic, Conference USA
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Jr., Stetson, Atlantic Sun
Steven Gingery, LHP, Jr., Texas Tech, Big 12
Ethan Hankins, RHP, Sr., Forsythe Central High School
Zack Hess, RHP, So., LSU, SEC
Sean Hjelle, RHP, Jr., Kentucky, SEC
Nico Hoerner, SS, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12
Tyler Holton, LHP/DH, Jr., Florida State, ACC
Niko Hulsizer, OF, Jr., Morehead State, Ohio Valley
Jonathan India, 3B, Jr., Florida, SEC
Julian Infante, 1B/DH, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC
Jared Janczak, RHP, Jr., TCU, Big 12
Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic
Nolan Kingham, RHP, Jr., Texas, Big 12
Jackson Kowar, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Shea Langeliers, C, So., Baylor, Big 12
Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Sr., Mountain Ridge High School
Nick Madrigal, 2B, Jr., Oregon State, Pac-12
Jake Mangum, OF, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC
Jake McCarthy, OF, Jr., Virginia, ACC
Shane McClanahan, LHP, Jr, South Florida, American Athletic
Drew Mendoza, 3B, So., Florida State, ACC
Casey Mize, RHP, Jr., Auburn, SEC
Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC
Tyler Pittmon, IF, Sr., Antelope Valley, California Pacific
Tristan Pompey, OF, Jr., Kentucky, SEC
Patrick Raby, RHP, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC
Cal Raleigh, C, Jr., Florida State, ACC
Alfonso Rivas, 1B, Jr., Arizona, Pac-12
Ryan Rolison, LHP, So., Ole Miss, SEC
Braden Shewmake, 2B, So., Texas A&M, SEC
Brady Singer, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Nick Sprengel, LHP, Jr., San Diego, West Coast
Travis Swaggerty, OF, Jr., South Alabama, Sun Belt
Brice Turang, SS, Sr., Santiago High School
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, So., California, Pac-12
Steele Walker, OF, JR, Oklahoma, Big 12
Matt Wallner, UT, So., Southern Miss, Conference USA
Zach Watson, OF, So., LSU, SEC
About 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 2017 Golden Spikes Award winner was Brendan McKay from the University of Louisville. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Andrew Benintendi (’15), Kris Bryant (’13), Mike Zunino (’12), Trevor Bauer (’11), Bryce Harper (’10), Stephen Strasburg ('09), Buster Posey ('08), David Price (’07) and Alex Gordon (’05). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Tim Lincecum (’06), Pat Burrell (’98), Mark Kotsay (’95), 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 Rod Dedeaux Foundation
The Rod Dedeaux Foundation was formed to continue Rod’s spirit by supporting youth baseball and softball programs in underserved areas. Currently, inner city organizations are fighting for survival as public funding is drying up, coupled with the game’s waning popularity with children in Urban areas. Through the efforts of the Foundation, youth receive more than just uniforms and renovated facilities, they receive a sanctuary from challenging environments and a support system specifically designed to build character and academic support to enable underprivileged youth to achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit DedeauxFoundation.org.
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, Premier12 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. The organization is responsible for the continued proliferation and health of the sport, and leads a number of amateur initiatives including PLAYBALL and Pitch Smart. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit the organization’s official websites: USABaseball.com, PLAYBALL.org, PitchSmart.org, GoldenSpikesAward.com and USABaseballShop.com.