STARKVILLE, Miss. – Preseason Mississippi State All-American closer Jonathan Holder was named to the 60-man preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, USA Baseball announced Friday. In its 37th year, the award has been presented annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Holder, one of the leaders in what Baseball America has called “college baseball’s best bullpen,” entered Friday’s season opener as a Baseball America, NCBWA, Louisville Slugger and Perfect Game preseason All-American. Mississippi State is a perfect 80-0 when leading after the eighth inning since Holder stepped foot on campus.
After a 2013 campaign which saw him become one of nine players in NCAA history with 21-plus saves in a single season, Holder is chasing the SEC and the NCAA career saves record. The Gulfport, Miss., native is 23 saves shy of tying UC Irvine’s Blair Erickson (2004-07) for the all-time NCAA saves record and 13 short of tying South Carolina’s Matt Price (2009-12) for the SEC record.
The junior righty is also one of a nation-best 13 players from the Southeastern Conference on the watch list. On April 10, USA Baseball will release its 50-man midseason watch list, shaped by USA Baseball staff and its committee of amateur baseball experts and media. On May 27, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2014 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 36 previous winners of the award.
Fan voting will once again be part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2014. Tuesday, May 27, 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 3, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.
Important 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:
Thursday, April 10: 50-man midseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, May 8: 30-man watch list, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Tuesday, May 27: Semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters to select three
Friday, May 30: Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 3: Finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
Friday, June 13: Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 17: Golden Spikes Award presentation